Daniel Zeichner, Member of Parliament for Cambridge and Chair of the Parliamentary Group on Big Data, warns that the Government’s Brexit Paper on the future of data flows has evaded the key challenge.

The paper recognises that a failure to reach a mutual agreement with the EU, would leave many businesses at risk, but fails to deal with the key issue: currently, the UK as a member of the EU has the freedom to have tough government surveillance powers – something not available to other countries seeking agreements with the EU.

Daniel raised this key issue in a special Parliamentary debate in December last year. He says, “The Government has no answer to this dilemma back in December, and eight months later appears to have made no progress. This is a case where we have more freedom being part of the European Union than when we are outside it, and creates a huge risk for UK business, including the highly successful video-games sector, which is so important in Cambridge.”

The Goverment’s future partnership paper, published today, aspires to a Mutual Adequacy agreement with the EU, which would allow mutual recognition of data protection rules with the EU and stop disruption to business.

Daniel adds, “this paper outlines the problems but the real graft of difficult and sensitive negotiations around surveillance powers starts now. It’ll take real time and commitment on both sides, and none of the bullish tactics that we have seen elsewhere in other government department Brexit negotiations. They need to recognise that they can’t have their cake and eat it too.”

UKIE, the UK’s association for interactive entertainment such as video games “cautiously welcomes this as the right direction of travel,” but warns that “quite how the arrangements will tally with the Investigatory Powers Act remains to bee seen.” TechUK, who represent nearly 1000 tech companies, similarly comment that, “while the Government’s approach appears to be the right one, securing an adequacy agreement will not be easy.”

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