Brexit and data protection

by Maria on March 3, 2018

Yesterday, Prime Minister Theresa May gave a much-trailed speech purporting to flesh out some ‘detail’ – that most hated and troublesome concept for Brexiteers. On data protection law and institutions, she said:

“But the free flow of data is also critical for both sides in any modern trading relationship too. The UK has exceptionally high standards of data protection. And we want to secure an agreement with the EU that provides the stability and confidence for EU and UK business and individuals to achieve our aims in maintaining and developing the UK’s strong trading and economic links with the EU.

That is why we will be seeking more than just an adequacy arrangement and want to see an appropriate ongoing role for the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office. This will ensure UK businesses are effectively represented under the EU’s new ‘one stop shop’ mechanism for resolving data protection disputes.”

This basically summarises the UK’s position since last August:

“After the UK leaves the EU, new arrangements to govern the continued free flow of personal data between the EU and the UK will be needed, as part of the new, deep and special partnership. The UK starts from an unprecedented point of alignment with the EU. In recognition of this, the UK wants to explore a UK-EU model for exchanging and protecting personal data, which could build on the existing adequacy model, by providing sufficient stability for businesses, public authorities and individuals, and enabling the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and partner EU regulators to maintain effective regulatory cooperation and dialogue for the benefit of those living and working in the UK and the EU after the UK’s withdrawal.”

It is pretty straight down the line UK positioning.

So, ‘you need us at least as much as we need you?’ Tick. Though I’d be surprised if the data flow volume is symmetrical.

‘Believe us when we say we’ll have perfect regulatory alignment while also making the UK more innovative and flexible?’ Tick. Despite its dicking around with the GDPR implementation – especially the huge carve-out that slashes data protection for any non-UK citizens – UK will at least start with a more or less guaranteed adequacy finding that says its data protection regime is enough for transfers to continue.

And ‘We will of course leave the EU and all its institutions, but still expect an influential role in determining future policy and EU law.’ Tick. Magnificent cake-ism, really. Entirely consistent with the rest of the UK’s negotiating stance. Theresa May really believes the 27 member states need the UK’s input on data protection so much, that they’ll let its regulator, the ICO, continue to take part in coordination procedures, and also continue to water down data protection for everyone else. [click to continue…]

Support the Yaoundé seminar in political philosophy

by Ingrid Robeyns on March 3, 2018

Thierry Ngosso, a Cameroon philosopher (PhD Louvain-la-Neuve, currently based in Sankt Gallen), together with some other philosophers based in Belgium and the Netherlands, are organising for the fifth year a summerschool in political philosophy in Yaoundé. The aim of the seminar is “a genuine and lasting North-South conversation, understanding and solidarity in academic philosophy.” The seminar is open for PhD-students in philosophy/political theory from the Global North (who have to pay their own way) as well as for PhD-students from countries in the global South. The Yaoundé seminar has always been able to count on the support of a great line-up of professors, who also pay their own way.

In order to be able to waive fees and financially support the students coming from the South, the organisers have set up a fundraiser. They need 4000 Euro for this year’s travel grants, but have stated that any additional support will go to the travel bursaries at next year’s event.

I think this is a wonderful initiative, and hope that some of our readers will be willing to make a donation – whether small or larger. The donations are handled by Leiden University, and the page where you can make a donation can be found here.