Brexit means considerable upheaval for residents of the United Kingdom. Among the many questions it brings, is what Brexit means for online privacy. And things are not looking too good.
The UK Could End Up Under Mass Surveillance
At the moment there is a dual data protection framework in place for the UK, their Data Protection Act 2018, and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), applying to all member states of the EU.
In 2017, Prime Minister Theresa May said that the UK was going to be a fully independent sovereign country upon leaving the EU. What she neglected to mention was that after Brexit without the protection of some EU regulations the United Kingdom could become wide open to mass surveillance by the police and government with citizens’ actions scrutinized underneath a magnifying glass.
General Data Protection Regulation Aims To Modernize Data Protection
The aim of the GDPR is to bring Europe's data protection laws into the 21st century. In short, the law limits the collection and the use of people's data in the EU. This applies to all companies operating in the EU.
Under the GDPR, companies have to implement “privacy by design”. In the event of privacy violations or data breaches, those within the EU are in a good position to bring about lawsuits against companies.
Two Types Of Brexit
It still is not clear if Brexit will happen or what form it will take. A "soft" Brexit would leave life in the UK as unchanged as possible, a "hard' or "no-deal" Brexit would lead to a radical shift in British society as it would mean very little EU laws would remain active.
How A Soft Brexit Might Affect Data Protection
A soft Brexit would be the best outcome for data protection as it means the UK would leave the EU with the least possible impact.
In regards to data protection, it would mean data exchange between the UK and the EU would be unhindered. However, in order for it to work smoothly both the UK and EU would be required to agree on the same level protection.
If Brexit happens and the withdrawal agreement with the EU gets approval, personal data is going to continue to flow between the UK and Europe unrestricted until 2020. This should provide sufficient time for a longer-term solution to be worked out.
How A No-Deal Brexit Might Affect Data Protection
According to guidelines published by the UK government, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, "there would be no immediate change in the UK’s own data protection standards" as the plan is to bring GDPR protections into UK law.
Where they admit uncertainty is in the free flow of personal data between the UK and the EU. Because it is not clear yet exactly how the UK law will look post-Brexit both the UK government and the European Commission retained the right to restrict data flow if the protections are not equivalent.
Ensuring Your Online Freedom And Privacy After Brexit
The Brexit terms and conditions continue to be hashed out but one thing is certain, British citizens can't afford a lapse in protection.
Thankfully, there is a way to ensure your online privacy after Brexit, by signing up for a VPN.
VPNs fight against mass surveillance by encrypting data to ensure it is kept out of sight of prying eyes. A VPN offers security against the government and hackers spying on you and stealing your personal information along with providing access to geo-restricted content.
Everyone from business owners to casual users of the internet needs to take steps to guarantee their information remains safe after Brexit. One way is by using a VPN when online.
The VPNs To Use After Brexit
When choosing a VPN, factors to be taken into account include the security offered and the number of servers and the countries those servers are located. Providers you might want to check out include the following.
ExpressVPN is a good choice of VPN provider as it offers 145 servers in over 94 countries. In addition, the company obtained high marks for privacy policies and security, including AES-256 encryption.
NordVPN is another fine choice for protecting your privacy online before or after Brexit. The provider offers access to 1,080 servers based on more than 61 countries worldwide. It has zero logging; DNS leak protection and Kill Switch, plus 256-bit AES encryption.
VyprVPN offers superb privacy with 700 servers offered in 70 countries worldwide, all of which are self-owned. They provide 256-bit AES encryption, the Chameleon protocol to beat government firewalls and censorship.
IPVanish offers an automatic Kill Switch, 256-bit AES encryption, zero logging; DNS leak protection and access to 850 servers based in 60 countries, with 40,000 shared IP addresses.
There continues to be a great deal of uncertainty about Brexit. While the future of online privacy in the UK remains unclear, what is certain is that with a virtual private network internet users can keep their personal details secure.