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What does Brexit mean for the future of digital policy in the UK? Scenery from Europe

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From hate speech to election manipulation, a number of problems arise as reliance on digital technology increases.

Now in the European Union, the digital single market and the underlying rights laws that underpin it, the UK government is faced with the choice of whether to respond to these challenges with a value-based strategy. Opting for a more nationalist approach, potentially jeopardizing civil liberties, diplomacy and economy in the process.

It seems likely that the government’s large-scale plans for the government’s national data strategy would have been implemented when Dominic Cummings left 10th place, but little is clear about digital policy after Brexit.

While the UK’s digital policy is likely to continue to follow the EU in the short term to prevent Brexit’s worst impact, governments have the option of following a more diverse agenda that could undermine their rights to privacy and freedom. Online information.

In terms of rights, the government claimed that Brexit would be an opportunity to improve standards such as animal welfare, but it did not provide the same guarantees for other sectors.

Maintaining digital rights

The Brexit Agreement binds the UK to compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) (Article 136) enforced by the Human Rights Act of 1998.

However, it is not clear whether certain digital rights, such as the right to be forgotten, will be maintained by the UK as the UK no longer follows the broader EU human rights laws that include the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

While these changes will have long-term implications for digital rights and regulations in the UK, the government will pay more attention in the short term to secure data adequacy agreements for the continuation of personal data flows, which are critical to businesses and law enforcement. .

The adequacy agreement represents the official declaration that the UK data protection regime provides the same level of protection as the EU and that failure to obtain such a decision could cost UK business up to 1.6 billion.

To avoid conflict, the Brexit deal extends the current contract up to six months, allowing the European Commission (EC) to decide whether to make a formal decision.

Despite this last minute probation, achieving an adequacy agreement has never been easier. Prior to its adoption, it will be subject to surveillance by the European Parliament and regulatory bodies. Once approved, it faces a similar legal challenge to the one that was successfully raised against the EU-US Privacy Shield last July, which was invalidated by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for not providing enough protection. EU citizen of the US surveillance.

As is evident in the US case, equivalence requires more than compliance with data protection regulations. Issues undermining the UK’s justification include the implementation of the EU’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) through data protection laws. This has been heavily criticized for failing to maintain the rights of persons subject to the immigration process. A lawsuit for the elimination of immigration exemptions launched by the Open Rights Group and the campaign group The3million is still ongoing.

The ECJ ruling last October, when mass data collection carried out in the UK under the Investigation Rights Act turned out to be illegal, could be equally problematic, especially the UK and US electronic evidence agreements after its invalidation. Of the privacy shield.

Data flow continuity

Given the importance of maintaining EU data protection standards to achieve this decision, it will be interesting to see if the UK government will opt out of EU policy in the coming months. According to existing economic myths, the UK should make every effort to meet EU requirements for continuity of data flows for UK companies.

However, if Tori’s support for the Brexit deal is to give place to long-standing conservative aspirations, such as weakening human rights laws to curb the use of migrants and asylum seekers, this logic could be severely tested.

Another issue to watch out for is whether the UK maintains its existing rules for brokerage liability, privacy laws and encryption. This will be the main target for those who prefer the interests of the security and surveillance industry through a free and open internet.

The government’s response to December’s online risk consultation is speaking because it has informed us early that these rules may change by introducing a requirement for automated filtering.

Conversely, the EU recently announced new regulations that not only preserve existing standards, but also provide additional possibilities to strengthen digital rights in the EU.

The Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act, currently being reviewed by the European Parliament, provide new rules for online markets, social media and other platforms.

They aim to revitalize the digital services economy while responding to digital issues ranging from hate speech, false information and election manipulation through a variety of new measures that provide greater transparency and enhance personal data protection.

This ambitious agenda is not only important to the EU, it is setting a model for third countries around the world. The UK may no longer participate in EU rulemaking, but once it becomes a third country, it will have the option to follow the EU’s value-based approach to digital regulation.

Unfortunately, the path depends on governments that have little clear policy and unprecedented influence over the future of the country.

Adam Bowering is the Policy Advisor for Civil Liberties, Justice and Family Affairs for the European Parliament.

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