CCBS Host Cross-Border Data Workshop
Posted On: 03 Mar 2023
On Thursday 2nd March, the Centre for Cross Border Studies hosted a workshop on cross-border data with the Department for the Economy and key stakeholders. One of many issues that has arisen since the UK voted to leave the EU is the potential divergence on data protection and the impacts this could have on the many services, businesses and organisations based in Northern Ireland who share data on a cross-border basis with counterparts in the Republic of Ireland and other EU Member States. This workshop was held to help the Department, CCBS and stakeholders understand the current situation and how things might develop going forward.
Currently, very few organisations are prepared for (or even aware of) the potential implications should the EU remove the ‘data adequacy’ status it grants to the UK and those third countries it deems to have sufficient protections to allow data to flow freely to them from businesses and organisations within tthe EU. The UK was granted data adequacy status by the EU but this is up for review in June 2025, is subject to legal challenge, and may also be at risk should the UK Government proceed as planned with the Data Protection Digital Information Bill, which would make substantial changes to the UK’s data protection laws.
Any loss of data adequacy would have significant impacts on north-south and east-west cooperation, given the centrality of data sharing in many of our activities today. As a result, the Centre is keen to work with those engaged in cooperation to highlight this issue and to make organisations aware of the potential implications. Likewise, the Department of the Economy is also seeking to create case studies to understand how organisations currently engage in cross-border data sharing and to help them understand the potential impact of a loss in data adequacy. It is hoped that by developing a better understanding of the current situation, action can be taken to ensure that cross-border data sharing can continue unaffected well into the future and that mitigations are in place should the UK lose EU data adequacy status.
We will be maintaining close contact with the Department for the Economy on this issue and assisting them as they engage with key stakeholders in this area. If you would like to contact us to discuss cross-border data sharing and concerns you might have, do get in touch with Megan: firstname.lastname@example.org
Information on cross-border data sharing from the Department of the Economy is available here: https://www.economy-ni.gov.uk/uk-exit-eu-preparing-transfer-personal-data
Information from the Information Commissioner’s Office is available here: https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/dp-at-the-end-of-the-transition-period/overview-data-protection-and-the-eu/