An Irish online privacy campaigner has written to the European Commission to warn it that it may have to limit data transfers between the EU and UK post-Brexit, because Britain's privacy watchdog is allegedly not adequately protecting users rights.
Dr Johnny Ryan, senior fellow at the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, claimed that without more safeguards being in place, the transfer of information between the EU and UK after the end of the year could break EU law.
Dr Ryan stated that up to £85bn in digital exports from the UK to the EU are at risk due to the situation.
"13% of the UK’s global trade relies on using EU personal data," Dr Ryan said.
"This is now in jeopardy because of the dismal record of the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to enforce the GDPR and protect our rights."
"The European Commission’s hands are tied by the law, and it cannot allow the UK to enjoy frictionless data transfers after Brexit until it is safe for our data to be processed in the UK."
In order for EU citizens data to be sent to the UK post-Brexit, there needs to be an adequacy agreement in place stating that data will be as well protected in Britain as it would be in Europe under the union's data privacy laws.
However, Dr Ryan has claimed that given such an adequacy agreement is not achievable because of the ICO’s failures to act on certain complaints made to it.
Two years ago Dr Ryan reported Google to the ICO for alleged breaches of data privacy rules through the process of so-called "real-time bidding".
However, so far no action has been taken to stop it and other enforcement breaches, he claimed.
"RTB operates behind-the-scenes on virtually every website and app, and constantly broadcasts the private things that people do and watch online, and where they are in the real world, to countless companies," he said.
The letter sent by Dr Ryan was also copied to the EU’s chief negotiator and other senior EU figures.