How Brexit is about to change how we handle data… again

When GDPR came into force across the EU on 25th May 2018, the data landscape changed forever.

Or so we thought.

With Brexit looming, the question of what will happen to our data rights and how data flows between the UK and EU has become an earnest one for many brands and marketers. Especially when a ‘no deal’ scenario is becoming more and more likely as the days tick by without a resolution.

However, the UK still has the Data Protection Act 2018 to fall back on – so is there really any immediate cause for concern?

Chris Combemale, group CEO of the DMA (Direct Marketing Association) spoke to the press about this issue, saying despite the Data Protection Act, there would be a disruption of the flow of data between the UK and EU. This would not only have an impact on businesses, but also to the general public.

“For example, a UK-based company that has EU customers may use an EU-based data centre, but the information is processed at the UK HQ.

“If the UK leaves the EU without a data deal this company would lose access to its own data, as transfers from the EU to UK would be prohibited.

“The company would need to find a new supplier or may move operations to the EU, so it can efficiently serve EU-based customers and not have to worry about transferring data from the EU to the UK.

“Therefore, it is imperative that the free flow of data is maintained.”

The DMA recommends that deal or no deal, the UK and EU need to keep close ties with information sharing. And having the UK’s Information Commissioner on the EU’s Data Protection Board would go some way to ensuring the UK remains a global leader in data, technology and marketing. If the free flow of data between the UK and EU is interrupted or halted, many businesses may suffer harm or would simple relocate.

With time running out, the use of data in marketing could become one of the many casualties of a no deal Brexit. We wait with baited breath…


Picture of Alex Allston, Senior Copywriter at The Sharp Agency

Alex Allston

Senior Copywriter