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International: UK and US agree to conclude data adequacy agreement following Executive Order on signals intelligence

The UK Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the US Secretary of Commerce issued, on 7 October 2022, a joint statement to address the launch of a UK-US Comprehensive Dialogue on Technology and Data and the progress on UK-US data adequacy. In particular, in relation to data adequacy, the statement noted that both countries had accelerated and broadened discussions on promoting bilateral and globally-interoperable cross-border data flows and had agreed to conclude such adequacy work in the weeks ahead.

Furthermore, the statement confirms that the UK welcomes the US Executive Order on Enhancing Safeguards for United States Signals Intelligence Activities and intends to conclude its assessment on the same, with the aim of issuing an adequacy decision that will restore a stable and reliable mechanism for UK-US data flows. At the same time, the statement indicates that the US intends to designate the UK as a qualifying state under the Executive Order, in line with the conditions for designation, which would enable UK individuals who submit qualifying complaints to access redress established under the Executive Order.

In this regard, according to the explanatory note, the UK's assessment will include:

  • concluding discussions on the remaining areas of the assessment;
  • formally consulting the Information Commissioner's Office ('ICO') for an opinion; and
  • making preparations for the laying of adequacy regulations in Parliament in early 2023, alongside issuing guidance for organisations and individuals.

You can read the UK press release here, the US press release here, the joint statement here, and the explanatory note here.