Right now, the whole of the U.K. appears to be on the same spot looking over a precipice. However, this is not the moment to be blind. As politicians struggle to find a magic formula for a prosperous Brexit, businesses are stepping up their efforts to mitigate the damage of a possible “no-deal Brexit.” The data protection community is no different. The proposed withdrawal agreement would have preserved the status quo in data protection terms, at least until the end of the transition period in December 2020. However, if the U.K. leaves the EU without a deal, the implications for international data flows and privacy compliance generally will be severe. Therefore, British pragmatism demands an urgent and thorough approach to preparing for the eventuality of a no-deal Brexit.
A number of data protection authorities around the globe have issued press releases confirming their involvement in the 2016 global privacy “sweep”, which kicked off on April 11th. This year’s initiative involves a coordinated investigation by 29 DPAs into the practices of internet-connected devices, such as fitness and health trackers, thermostats, smart meters and TVs and connected cars. The work is being coordinated by the Global Privacy Enforcement Network under the leadership of the UK Information Commissioner’s Office.