Commission: Data protection in Britain equal to that of EU

Brussels - The European Commission wants personal data to continue flowing freely from the European Union to Britain, deeming the country's level of data protection as equivalent to that of the bloc.

"The free flow of data should continue"

The European Data Protection Board still has to weigh in and member states' representatives will have to approve the decision before it can come into effect.

As Britain left the bloc's single market and customs union, it is now a third country, which means that its data protection faces more scrutiny for determining whether personal data of EU citizens can be exchanged without conditions.

The commission announced that it believes Britain fulfils the European Union's minimum standards and said the free flow of data should continue.

A transition period that currently makes such data transfer possible expires at the end of June.

The decision, if accepted by EU countries, will be valid for four years. The commission will then reassess whether the same level of data protection still applies, and whether to renew the decision.

The UK is similar to the EU

British legislation, which applies since January 1, allows for data to flow freely from the former member state to the bloc.

The British government welcomed the decision.

"The UK has a world-class data protection system, currently the same as the European Union's, so it is logical that the commission should find the UK 'adequate'," the government said in a press release.

"Seamless international data flows are essential in a hyper-connected world," the statement said.

The European Union deems that several other countries, such as Israel, Japan, New Zealand and Uruguay, have similar data protection levels to the 27 member states.