New UK-US “data-bridge” hopes to boost transatlantic trade

us flag hero image
(Image credit: Bryn Colton/ Getty Images)

A so-called “data bridge” has been established between the UK and US, allowing a smoother transfer of personal data between the US and UK while still adhering to GDPR guidelines.

Previously, the transfer of personal data from the UK to regions outside of the EU involved a complex bureaucratic requirement known as a Transfer Risk Assessment (TRA).

The introduction of this new data bridge should allow businesses to transfer personal data more freely, enhancing efficiency, economic outlook and confidence when dealing with data privacy.

Reason to rejoice or cause for concern?

Data privacy has been a bit of a minefield for businesses looking to operate between the US and the UK, but this new legislation should help iron out some of the creases involved in transatlantic trade.

The agreement is built upon a similar agreement between the EU and US, while still respecting differences in UK and EU GDPR guidelines post-Brexit. Both parties are hopeful that the agreement will not only boost trade in digital commerce, but also strengthen the relationships between businesses.

The UK department for Science, Technology and Innovation says that the data bridge will “unlock growth for businesses, allow us to share crucial information for life-saving research, and encourage science and innovation across borders”.

However, as this new agreement rests upon the framework of the EU-US deal there is worry it could all come crashing down, as EU personal data is not as rigorously protected in the UK as it is in the bloc. It wouldn’t be the first time such a deal has been struck down by EU courts, as happened in 2015 and 2020. 

There are further concerns that the UK government's recent attempts to remove the red tape surrounding personal data, in the form of the Data Protection and Digital Information bill (currently making its way through Parliament), could threaten the UK’s data privacy adequacy status with the EU risking already tenuous trade relationships.

Whether these data agreements will foster a new era of innovation and trade remains to be seen, but it is certainly something that UK businesses should keep a close eye on.

More from TechRadar Pro

Benedict Collins
Staff Writer (Security)

Benedict Collins is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Pro covering privacy and security. Before settling into journalism Ben worked as a Livestream Production Manager, covering games in the National Ice Hockey League for 5 years and contributing heavily to the advancement of livestreaming within the league.

He has a MA in Security, Intelligence and Diplomacy, alongside a BA in Politics with Journalism, both from the University of Buckingham. Outside of work Ben follows many sports; most notably ice hockey and rugby. When not running or climbing, Ben can most often be found deep in the shrubbery of a pub garden.