The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (“DCMS”) has announced the launch of the International Data Transfer Expert Council (“IDTEC”), which will unite the world’s leading academics and digital industry figures to help Britain capitalise on the opportunities of better global data sharing.

The IDTEC, part of the UK’s National Data Strategy, will provide independent advice to the UK government to support it in unlocking the benefits of free and secure cross-border data flows now that the UK has left the EU. Members of the IDTEC include well-known tech and industry names such as Google, Mastercard and Microsoft, as well as international universities and organisations, with experiences covering a range of areas such as patient healthcare, scientific research, artificial intelligence and finance. The IDTEC will meet quarterly to cover issues such as:

  1. future data adequacy partnerships;
  2. the development of new data transfer tools; and
  3. how governments can work together to promote greater trust in sharing personal data for law enforcement and national security purposes.

It is hoped that removing barriers to data flows will mean services, such as GPS navigation and online banking, can be provided more securely, reliably and affordably, and will unlock additional revenue from global trade. This will help achieve the ambition of the National Data Strategy of ‘harnessing the power of data to boost economic growth, create jobs and deliver new innovations for people and public services’. Data Minister Julia Lopez said:

Realising the benefits of international data flows has never been more important. We want the UK to drive forward cutting-edge policies at home and overseas to ensure people, businesses and economies benefit from safe and secure data flows.”

Since leaving the EU, the UK has been free to strike deals on personal data transfers with its key trading partners around the world. The government has said that it will prioritise creating data adequacy partnerships to ensure the data protection standards in the country data is being transferred to mirror the UK’s with a number of countries including the United States, Australia, Singapore, the Dubai International Finance Centre, the Republic of Korea and Colombia. The UK government expects that securing new data transfer agreements will build significantly on the annual £83 billion of data-enabled UK service exports.

Written by Ben Urquhart and Olivia Ward