The Brexit Threat To Data Flows


We’re meant to take this tale as a warning of the immense costs of leaving the European Union. Look, see, EU law governs who may send data to whom and where, this will be a disaster!

The correct way to read this is see, look at the costs being in the European Union imposes upon us. As with every other little tale of this and that sector of trade, agreement, standard and regulation. Every time we’re told how difficult it’s going to be to leave we should be reminding ourselves of the costs that are imposed by being in.

The report, to be published this week, says potential problems post-Brexit with data transfers have received “minimal attention” in the debate over the UK’s exit from the EU, but could turn out to be as serious to the economy as more visible issues relating to cross-border trade.

The study says that even if there were a Brexit deal, new rules on data transfers between organisations in the EU and the UK – currently governed by EU law – could prove hugely difficult to renegotiate bilaterally. But if there is no deal, the study warns there will be immediate and serious economic repercussions. “No transitional period would entail significant legal, economic, political and social disruption in the UK,” the report says. “The UK would immediately become a third country in EU law, and instant disruption to EU-UK data flows would ensue.”

One of the report’s authors, Oliver Patel of UCL’s European Institute, said a typical example would be problems for a UK-based hotel company which can currently receive data from EU countries about customers using its hotels on the continent – valuable for commercial reasons, including to target people for promotions.

We should – must – all recall the wise words of Sr. Barroso. The point and purpose of the European Union is to stop Germany invading France. Again.

OK, great. Central regulation of the information on whether a hotel guest prefers dairy or plain choccie on the pillow turndown aids in keeping the Champs Elysee free of marching Krauts in what manner? Therefore we seem to have a little bit of mission overcreep here from the EU, don’t we?

Enough that we should leave anyway. And every other story of how difficult it’s going to be to leave the cats’ cradle of arrangements just reinforces this. Sure, the Riviera should be free of bratwurst but why belong to an organisation that doesn’t limit itself to that goal?