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'No deal' risk to free flow of data

Since the referendum Ukie have repeatedly and consistently stressed the importance of securing a data adequacy agreement to ensure the free flow of data between the EU and UK. Yesterday in the House of Commons the Minister for Digital made a troubling admission. In a European Committee meeting regarding the exchange of data with non-EU Countries Labour MP and shadow Culture Secretary Liam Byrne asked the Minister: 

"in the event of a no deal Brexit, are the Ministers prepared to guarantee to the House this afternoon that a data adequacy agreement will be secured and that free data flows will continue?"

In response the Minister replied:

"I cannot give him a categorical assurance that an adequacy agreement will be in place at any particular point during the negotiations". 

Ukie have been making the point about just how important an issue data adequacy is to our sector from the outset. Our 2016 paper on Brexit negotiations, our State of Play report, our Manifesto as well as in person, in cross industry papers and working groups and parliamentary roundtables, we have continued to press the point that, without a deal on adequacy our sector, and indeed the wider tech and digital economy in the UK would be significantly hamstrung.

The games industry was born digital and relies on a strong digital backbone to deliver the best products to global audiences and to keep servicing those customers. The interaction and associated data flows between players, games and platforms is intrinsic to the way our games operate. We rely on being able to collect and use data to develop new business models and innovative products, and most importantly enhance players’ experiences.

We export globally, we process data from around the world and we fundamentally rely on the ability to move data across borders. It is critical that the Government ensures there is a robust legal basis in place following our departure from the EU for cross-border data transfers to continue.

The Government must therefore prioritise obtaining a data adequacy decision from the EU and, following our departure from the EU in 2019, ensuring that UK and European data protection regulators continue to have a close and productive relationship. Furthermore, any future changes to data regulation must consider the needs of businesses, including the video games and interactive entertainment sector, and must not jeopardise this free flow of data.