Leaders within Britain’s tech industry have written a letter to international trade secretary Dr Liam Fox, pleading for the UK to remain a part of EU data protection laws post-Brexit or risk "undermining" UK industry.
Julian David, chief executive of lobby group TechUK, which represents approximately 1000 British technology firms, warned that any divergence from current EU rules would undermine efforts to secure new trade agreements – the complete opposite of hopes expressed by some officials.
David wrote: “Diverging from EU data protection rules in domestic law post-Brexit would undermine this opportunity.
“We would caution against the misunderstanding that adherence to the EU data protection regime is incompatible with securing high-quality trade agreements.”
Industry leaders from the pharmaceutical and chemical sectors have already made similar pleas, warning that any attempt to upend the status quo risks jeopardising Britain’s privileged position as a conduit between Europe and the US.
At present 43% of all large European digital companies are started in the UK, bolstered by a burgeoning £7bn ‘fintech’ industry.
European General Data Protection Regulation, which the UK government has said it will comply with even though an EU exit is planned, is poised to come into force from May with some 60% of firms feared to be unprepared for its implementation.