Recently ministers from many of the EU member states including the UK and Ireland urged the European Commission to remove regulatory and non-regulatory barriers in the digital single market particularly as regards data protection, telecommunications and e-privacy.

As regards data transfers whilst transfers within the EU are allowed in relation to personal data the reality is that there are still local restrictions that impact the digital economy.

In their letter to the European Commission the ministers said “it should be ensured that data can move freely across borders, both within and outside the EU, by removing all unjustified barriers to the free flow of data and that regulation does not constitute a barrier to development and adoption of innovative data-driven technologies.”

In addition ministers also said “in the long run we strive to remove the most significant barriers to cross border e-commerce through common rules on consumer protection at a high level with aligned consumer rights online and offline. Action on e-government including EU-level information exchange and cross-border services can significantly reduce friction and administrative burdens.”

On the 18th May last research into examples of cross-border restrictions on data flows in which Charles Russell Speechlys were a key contributor were presented to the European Commission at an interactive workshop.

We are carrying out further research in this area with our partner London Economics as part of an EU funded research project.