MEPs urge the European Commission to amend the UK draft adequacy decision

On May 11, 2021, the European Parliament published a press release calling on the European Commission to amend its draft UK adequacy decisions to align them more closely with EU court rulings and the opinion of the European Data Protection Board (“EDPB”) . The request came after Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee (the “Committee”) adopted a resolution assessing the Commission’s approach to the adequacy of the UK data protection regime. MEPs of the European Parliament (“MEPs”) stated that if there was a possibility of indiscriminate access to personal data, the transfer of personal data to the UK should be suspended if the Commission implementing decisions were adopted without amendment.

The Committee noted the EDPB’s concerns about mass access to data in the UK and concerns about the disclosure of data to third countries outside the European Economic Area (“EEA”). In particular, the committee noted that the UK data exchange agreements with the US endanger the transfer of EEA personal data to the US, which may conflict with the Schrems II decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union (“ECJ”) protection standard set out in the USA for EU / UK personal data is offered to be inadequate). The Committee highlighted the UK’s application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTTP), which includes provisions on data transfer, and noted that other signatories of the CPTTP have not received an adequacy decision from the European Commission.

With regard to mass access to data, the Committee noted that the UK legislative regime currently allows for mass access to and retention of personal data, which it believes is inconsistent with the data protection principles and rights of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR ”). The committee also noted that the UK is granting wide exemptions from data protection obligations for national security and immigration purposes, where there is limited judicial oversight.

Rapporteur Juan Fernando López Aguilar said: “The Civil Liberties Committee believes that a decision on adequacy should only be taken after the specific elements of UK law or practice which are still of serious concern, have been properly assessed. We therefore ask the Commission to amend the implementing decision in order to avoid repeating previous mistakes. “

The draft resolution is due to be discussed and voted on in the plenary session of the European Parliament this week. However, the European Parliament is unable to block the adoption of the adequacy decision. The European Commission will use its comitology procedure to ask for the approval of the representatives of the EU Member States and, if approved, will take the decision.

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