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The EU, UK, the Deal, Adequacy, EDPB, Uncle Frank and a Stretched Analogy

So, there was a (sort of) UK-EU trade deal, after all. Reassuringly for those of us without the inclination to read the 1.246 pages of the agreement, other have done the hard work and confirmed that the economically crucial EU decision as to whether to grant the UK’s data protection rules “adequacy” status has been deferred, with another delay of up to 6 months.

So how does that work, you might wonder when we’d all been repeatedly told that 31st December was an immovable deadline? How can there be yet another extension for the data decision when we were supposed to be stood on a cliff edge?

It’s all down to (sensible) rules and bureaucracy trumping politics.

The European Commission is empowered to make a decision about the adequacy of the UK’s data protection regime, but only on the recommendation of the EDPB (European Data Protection Board) – a sort of grand committee of the various EU members’ national data protection regulators. But the EDPB takes its time and wouldn’t work through the night on Christmas week, like the main negotiating teams did.

A bit like if you were having your house extended and – in a rush to get the kitchen functioning in time for Christmas – you got some help from friends or relatives after the builder had downed tools in mid-December. Your mate who’s a plumber would be invaluable and if Uncle Frank could do the electric work that would be great. But if Frank isn’t qualified then he can’t sign off the work, so you won’t be able to safely use the lights or the electric oven until someone qualified does sign it off.

Reassuringly, data isn’t exactly like electricity and we can still safely use the ‘kitchen appliances’ for the time being. 

Good thing too!

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