On 1 February 2021, the Minister for Media and Data, Rt Hon John Whittingdale OBE MP, responded to a parliamentary question stating that the Government does not see why the UK will not be awarded post-Brexit data adequacy by the EU. However, the Minister advised UK organisations to take ‘sensible steps’ to prepare for a situation without an adequacy decision.
The post-Brexit Trade and Cooperation Agreement did not include a determination that the UK provides an adequate level of protection for personal data. Instead, it included a provision to provide for the continued free flow of personal data from the EU and EEA EFTA States to the UK for a further 6-month period. The UK has, on a transitional basis, deemed the EU and EEA EFTA States to be adequate for data flows from the UK but the European Commission is yet to make its own determination for EU to UK data flows beyond the 6-month transition period.
Dr Richard Wilson OBE, CEO of TIGA, said:
“It is important for the UK video games industry that an adequacy agreement on data protection is reached between the UK and the EU.
“Games development requires the use of a large amount of personal and non-personal data and the free flow of this personal and non-personal data between the UK and EU is essential to games publishing and to the operation of online games platforms.
“It is good that the Government sees ‘no reason’ why the UK should not be awarded EU data adequacy. It would be prudent though for businesses to prepare for the possibility that the 6-month data bridge collapses and put in place steps such as standard contractual clauses as recommended by the ICO.”
More information from the ICO on the steps businesses should take from is available here.
The full Written Answer can be viewed below:
Video Games: Data Protection
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
1 February 2021
Jonathan Gullis (Con): To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of not having an EU Data Adequacy Agreement on the UK video games sector.
Mr John Whittingdale (Minister of State): We see no reason why the UK should not be awarded data adequacy by the EU and we expect the process to be concluded promptly. However, we advise UK organisations to take sensible steps to prepare for a situation where the EU does not adopt adequacy decisions for the UK.
In such a scenario, businesses and other organisations would be able to use alternative legal mechanisms to continue to transfer personal data. Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) are the most common legal safeguard and will be the relevant mitigation for most organisations. Guidance can be found on GOV.UK and the ICO’s websites regarding steps organisations may be required to take relating to data protection and data flows by the end of the bridging period.
We have liaised extensively with representatives from the video games industry and fully recognise the key role the sector can play in the future prosperity of the UK. Video games contributed an estimated £2.9 billion to the UK economy in 2019.