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Economy Minister Diane Dodds has encouraged businesses across Northern Ireland who receive personal data transfers from the EU to prepare for the end of the transition period.

A recent survey by the Department for the Economy of local businesses who receive data from the EU showed:

  • 66% advised that EU data was essential for business functions;
  • 6% have undertaken all actions to prepare for a lack of data adequacy, a further 14% have undertaken some action;
  • 80% of respondents had taken no action to prepare for restrictions on data flow.

Commenting on the survey Economy Minister Diane Dodds said: While the UK is seeking a data adequacy decision from the EU, which would secure unrestricted flows of personal data between the EU and the UK, there is a possibility those arrangements will not be in place when the transition period ends on 31 December 2020. As a result, from 1 January 2021 organisations who receive personal data from the EU may need to take action in order to ensure those transfers can continue legally.

It is concerning that my Department’s survey shows only 6% of those companies surveyed have contingency plans in place should data flows become restricted. I know the impacts of Covid-19 have meant that many companies feel they do not have the resources to prepare that they otherwise would have. However I would like to stress it is not too late to take action to secure and protect cross border data flows.”

The Minister continued: There are practical steps which can be taken and advice and guidance is available from the Information Commissioner’s Office. Support is also available from Invest Northern Ireland and InterTradeIreland and I would encourage all of those seeking further information to visit nibusinessinfo.co.uk to access further details on funding, online tutorials and specialist advice.”