A few hours after the EU Referendum results were announced, the European Union and the United States agreed to final changes to a data sharing pact known as the EU-US Privacy Shield, a key deal to facilitate transatlantic business and limit US surveillance. The UK will, however, only be privy to the deal as long as it is under the EU.
Privacy Shield is a pact that would not only make it easy for organisations to transfer data across the Atlantic but would also govern how multinational companies handle the private data of EU residents. The agreement is set to replace the Safe Harbour pact, which the EU Court of Justice had declared void in 2015.
The pact has been in the works for a while now but the revamped agreement was sent to EU member states overnight, according to a Reuters report. A major change in the final deal was a written commitment from the White House regarding bulk collection of data sent from the EU to the US, which can now only occur under specific preconditions and must be for valid reasons.
Although the terms have been finalised, the pact will only come into force when a vote takes place in early July from all EU members. UK may not be officially out of the EU until then and will have the buffer months to plan a similar accord with the US for the data protection agreement.
UK's Information Commissioner issued a statement on the matter saying, "If the UK is not part of the EU, then upcoming EU reforms to data protection law would not directly apply to the UK. But if the UK wants to trade with the Single Market on equal terms we would have to prove 'adequacy' - in other words UK data protection standards would have to be equivalent to the EU's General Data Protection Regulation framework starting in 2018."