Farage challenges Rees-Mogg on improving Brexit deal

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Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden announced that the UK would review its data protection rules as “one of the big prizes” of leaving the EU. He said the assessment would mean an end of “endless” cookie pop-ups on websites asking for permission to store a user’s personal information. Britain’s new rules will be based on “common sense, not box-ticking” as a stark move away from the EU’s draconian data protection rules.

But Brussels insists any changes will be constrained by the need for the UK’s regulations to be deemed adequate by the bloc.

The EU has agreed to maintain post-Brexit data flows with Britain, but only if Downing Street vows to keep step with the bloc’s rules.

A European Commission spokesman said Brussels could suspend or terminate its data deal at any time.

Eurocrats are monitoring any changes to UK data protection rules “very closely”, it was said.

The official said: “When adopting the adequacy decisions, the Commission was fully aware the risk of divergence of the UK system from the EU system.

“This is why, in the case of events that negatively effects the level of protection.

“The adequacy decision can be suspended or terminated or amended at any time.

“This can be done immediately in case of justified urgency. So we will continue to ensure that European citizens are protected by strong safeguards.”

GDPR data protection rules were introduced by the EU in May 2018 and were made part of UK law after Brexit, under the Data Protection Act.

The regulation imposes strict rules on what data controllers can do with individuals’ personal data.

Announcing Britain’s plans, Mr Dowden said Britain should use its post-Brexit freedoms to put an end to the irritating rules set by Brussels.

He said: “Now that we have left the EU I’m determined to seize the opportunity by developing a world-leading data policy that will deliver a Brexit dividend for individuals and businesses across the UK.

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“It means reforming our own data laws so that they’re based on common sense, not box-ticking. And it means having the leadership in place at the Information Commissioner’s Office to pursue a new era of data-driven growth and innovation. John Edwards’ vast experience makes him the ideal candidate to ensure data is used responsibly to achieve those goals.”

Ministers are also planning shape up Britain’s data watchdog to oversee the new-look regime.

They hope it can be used to broker deals with emerging markets, such as Brazil and India, to bolster cross-border data flows.

This will create potential opportunities in the areas of law enforcement, GPS navigation, scientific research, online banking and retail.

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Mr Dowden said there was “no reason” why the changes should alter the EU’s “determination” as it had signed data agreements with a number of countries outside of its regulatory orbit.

But he insisted the UK must be able to “set our own path” and that the Government would “determine the way for ward-based on our national interest”.

“There’s an opportunity for us to set world-leading, gold-standard data regulation which protects privacy, but does so in as light touch a way as possible,” Mr Dowden added.

The Government will focus on ending the “one-size-fits-all” approach of the EU’s GDPR, which has seen small businesses caught up in swathes of red tape and bureaucracy.

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