UK and US ministers hail ‘significant progress’ on data adequacy

UK digital secretary Dorries promises that countries should deepen 

Credit: Crown Copyright/Open Government Licence v3.0

Ministers from the UK and US have claimed that the two countries have made “significant progress” on ensuring data can continue to flow across the Atlantic safely and legally.

A joint statement from UK digital secretary Nadine Dorries and US commerce secretary Gina Raimondo (pictured above, Raimondo on the right), who met last week in Washington DC, added that the two nations will look to establish an adequacy framework, as part of a joint commitment to “deepening the data partnership”.

An adequacy arrangement would formally recognise that each country complied with the other’s data-protection laws, offering mutually equivalent levels of protection.

In June – after more than a year of discussions – the UK was granted data adequacy status by the EU. The US does not have an adequacy arrangement and, after the collapse of the Privacy Shield system of self-certification, there is currently no formal mechanism ensuring the legally compliant transfer of data between the EU and the US.

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This being the case, any adequacy agreement that allowed data to be transferred unimpeded between the UK and US could imperil this country’s European adequacy arrangement.

“We welcome significant progress made by our respective teams to support, stabilise and realise the benefits of bilateral data flows, and we are committed to achieving a successful and enduring partnership, including on adequacy,” said the joint statement from Dorries and Raimondo. “We also look forward to working together on the global challenges and opportunities, including with like-minded partners to build trust in the important ways our governments access information for the purposes of public safety, national security, and law enforcement investigations.”

The two ministers added that, by working closely together, the UK and US can “play a key role in shaping a global data ecosystem capable of addressing the challenges of today and tomorrow by designing and delivering tools for the 21st century”.

“The challenges facing cross-border data flows are increasingly global and require solutions that work across multiple jurisdictions,” they added. “We recognise the negative trends that risk closing off international data flows. In response, we seek to shape a global data ecosystem in a manner that promotes and advances interoperability between different data protection frameworks, facilitating cross-border data flows while maintaining high standards of data protection and trust. We are committed to open and inclusive engagement with international partners, industry, civil society, and consumer and privacy rights groups. Our rich and shared histories, traditions, and commitment to high privacy standards pre-dates the advent of digital technologies, continues today, and will continue and evolve through future technological innovation. We look forward to continuing to build on our partnership in early 2022.”


Sam Trendall

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