The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) insists Members of Parliament must prevent a No-Deal Brexit and ensure the free flow of personal data between the EU and UK is maintained.
In the event of a no deal Brexit, personal data, the “lifeblood of cross-border EU-UK trade in advertising and marketing” would be severely restricted.
The increasing threat of a no-deal Brexit as a result of Parliament rejection of Theresa May’s Brexit deal is already causing grave business uncertainty and leading some organisations to move operations to the EU.
In a statement this week, DMA CEO Chris Combemale, said: “In the wake of the no vote in Parliament, it is imperative that the Government formulate a plan B and avoid a no-deal Brexit at all costs.”
A no deal Brexit would create “severe uncertainty for the data and marketing sector, Combemale added.
EU to UK data flows could be drawn to a halt, he suggested, which would have “further knock-on effects on the UK public, with jobs moving to the EU and investment also decreasing.”
The prospect of a no deal Brexit increased significantly this week following Parliament’s rejection of EU withdrawal plans.
The priority for Government, the DMA recommends, should be to ensure the UK has enough time to secure adequacy status and avoid disruption to the free flow of data – with a transitional period advised.
Adequacy status allows for personal data to be exchanged freely; a privilege the UK currently enjoys as a member of the EU.
Commenting on adequacy status concerns, Combemale said: “We believe the UK cannot retain its position as a global leader in data, technology and marketing if we do not have an adequacy deal on future data flows with Europe.”
Leading up to 29th March, organisations across the UK must prepare contingency plans in the case of a no deal, the DMA advised, and look to “other legal mechanisms for transferring personal data from the EU to the UK”.
In many cases, this could mean relying on standard contractual clauses to transfer data. However, this would incur significant costs for businesses – which would be disproportionately felt by Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
In December, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) also advised businesses and organisations in the UK to begin preparing for data flow disruption.
The ICO’s guidance underlines a number of key areas in which organisations must prepare and adapt accordingly to ensure minimal disruption.
This includes the continuation of GDPR compliance, reviewing organisation structure for European operations, reviewing privacy information and the assessment of transfers to and from the UK.
A core feature of this guidance proposes that UK businesses implement Standard Contractual Clauses with EU-based organisations or companies. The ICO has published an interactive walkthrough to help organisations determine if these measures are suitable to implement.