back to article The glorious Brexit uncertainty: The only dead cert on data rules for tech biz in 2019

At the dawn of 2018, GDPR was a dead cert. The four letters were on everyone's lips and, with a helpful nudge from Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, set the privacy world aflame. This year, data protection minds will re-focus on more uncertain matters: the ePrivacy Regulation, once intended as the EU's General Data Protection …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The only thing certain is

    That the things that inhabit Westminster masquerading as decent people will emit a huge amount of hot air (and accompanying CO2) before 29th March this year.

    There seems to be no solution apart from a Hard BREXIT on the table( and likely as not to happen) as distasteful it might be to some of us (and a beautiful delight to others)...

    Those of us mere mortals will carry on as before because there is nothing we can do to change the direction we go in that those 'things' decide.

    Keep our heads down, buy a few extra tins of Italian Chopped Toms (in case their price rises by 10%+ or are rationed)... but above all,

    DON'T PANIC.

    What will be will be.

    Perhaps the madness we seem to have afflicted ourselves with will go away by 2025 and we might actually start to enjoy our lives again.

    Oh, and don't plan on travelling through Dover/Folkestone this summer. /s /s /s

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: The only thing certain is

      What will be will be.

      No thanks. I'll carry on lobbying my fuckwitted free-enterprise worshipper of an MP in the hope that he'll finally see sense instead of throwing us over the cliff edge. Fortunately he only has a slim majority, the constituency is about two-to-one Remain and he knows he only scraped in in 2015 because the Lib Dems made themselves so hated.

    2. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: The only thing certain is

      Although the ferry situation has been raised, so far I've seen no mention of commuters using Eurostar, nor indeed the tunnel in general.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The only thing certain is

        Will there be any call for commuting to Brussels post Brexit?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The only thing certain is

          Also, it's a possible entry point for foreigners. Brexit is about blocking ports and grounding aircraft, it would be madness to allow the tunnel to stay open when the Navy is on full alert in case even a half dozen blokes in a dinghy might land.

          Separate Laurentia and Avalonia now!

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: The only thing certain is

            "the Navy is on full alert in case even a half dozen blokes in a dinghy might land."

            Is that not expecting a bit much of the current Navy?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The only thing certain is

      "There seems to be no solution apart from a Hard BREXIT on the table"

      There is another: cancelling article 50 and renegotiating.

      The dumb thing we did was triggering A50 cos the EU said they wouldn't start talks until A50 happened. So we set ourselves on a path to hard Brexit, which a majority are against, and went asking for something better. That's a very weak negotiating position. It gave the upper hand to the EU because they only have to offer something slightly better for us to agree.

      We should have said "No. We start talking now and will do the A50 thing when there's a deal we're willing to take. While we're in the EU, and not believers in it, we will veto EVERYTHING". That gives us some power and encourages the other side to give us a deal we will want to take.

      So we should cancel A50 and negotiate from this better position. That still doesn't solve the problem of getting a majority of MPs to agree on single position which is a blocker to both any deal and no deal - so expect an 11th hour A50 cancellation as it allows the can to be kicked down the road some more.

      In short: we're currently pointing a gun at our feet by saying "we leave without a deal, y'know!" We should be pointing the gun at THEIR feet by threatening to stay.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        WTF?

        "So we should cancel A50 and negotiate from this better position. "

        Half of that sentence is quite sensible, although it would be political suicide for T. May

        The other half are the thoughts of a delusional f**kwit.

        I'll leave people to work out which side of the sentence I think is which.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: "So we should cancel A50 and negotiate from this better position. "

          Half of that sentence is quite sensible, although it would be political suicide for T. May

          Doesn't matter, it's about the country not her. She needs to do the right thing by the people and not herself.

          Unfortunately that notion won't even occur to her, because she's a politician. Sociopathy and narcissism are the minimum requirements for entry into that world at any level.

      2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: The only thing certain is

        The dumb thing we did was triggering A50 WITHOUT A PLAN. Fixed that for you.

        I am more and more convinced that it was deliberate too. Teresa May's goal has always been a "No ECHR" which can happen only in a "chaotic BrExit" scenario. Anything she says to the opposite is in the realm of "The Lady dost protest too much" zone.

        She will now get exactly what she wants as a minimum and maybe even what she dreams of as a stretch goal (described in V for Vendetta - they got the gender there wrong).

        1. Azium

          Re: The only thing certain is

          The ECHR is not part ot the EU. It's a totally separate institution. Teresa May might hate it (I don't really understand why a rational person would) but leaving the EU won't affect our membership of the ECHR.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The only thing certain is

        :There is another: cancelling article 50 and renegotiating"

        You can't. The Brexit lobby has essentially run out the clock... at this point there is almost certainly no time to repeal the British legislation requiring the UK to leave the EU on March 29.

        "While we're in the EU, and not believers in it, we will veto EVERYTHING"

        This seems to be a common attitude there, which indicates that however bad Brexit might be for the UK, ultimately it will be good for the EU.

        There may be a small economic hit, but it would be worth it to get rid of such a reserve of obstructionism.

  2. John Mangan

    May you live in interesting times.

    As bowel-liquefying a curse as it has ever been.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My prediction is...

    that the initial impact of no deal Brexit will be as devastating as....

    Y2K.

    In other words, those who will be affected will know, and will spend the time to do the work.

    Those who will not be will not even notice.

    We can infer from the noise coming from the MSM and politicians that in fact it is politicians who will be most affected, with lots of MEPS and other parasites losing their jobs.

    What happens subsequently as policy diverges from EU diktats, is down to who we elect post 2019.

    And whether we have people in government who understand economics, technology, how to actually negotiate, and infrastructure..

    Or populists who divert our attention into fox hunting, gay marriage and whether or not children should know how to shag before they become child brides at 11...

    1. RegGuy1

      Re: My prediction is...

      that the initial impact of no deal Brexit will be as devastating as...

      That's probably going to be true. And the reason -- we will become a vassal state.

      Yes we will be allowed to diverge from the EU, so we will be able to have blue passports. In other words, were we can diverge it will make no damned difference (but it will keep the brexitering muppets happy).

      Our future is likely to be either remain (the best option) or vassal state (ie still be told what to do but have walked out of the room where we could have had a say -- because that will make the UK's fucking retards happy).

      The real thing these fuckwits want to happen -- no deal -- won't, because the politicians are smart enough to know that down that road there is a hell of a lot of shit, and the fans are very big. They know that the electorate are never wrong and will simply point their fingers of blame back at the politicians.

      Where is that twat Cameron when you want to punch him in the face?

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: My prediction is...

        (but it will keep the brexitering muppets happy)

        If you believe that, you must be Neville Chamberlains illegitimate offspring - Nothing is going to satisfy that rabid bunch of carpet baggers except selling the UK off as antique castle with raised drawbridge and willing and desperate serfs as a wet tax haven.

        Can't we just have the inevitable civil war now while I'm still young enough to have a chance to defend myself from the ravening brigands?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Where is that twat Cameron..?

        porking some gammon?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: My prediction is...

        "we will become a vassal state."

        This statement sums up the entire brexit 'debate'. It is simultaneously anachronistic, innacurate and misleading about the situation post Brexit. Anachronistic in using a term to describe fuedal servitude. Innacurate as neither inside or outside the EU is Britain subordinate to other countries in the EU (we are subordinate to the US but that is to a large extent inevitable and apparently does not matter). Misleading because whether inside or outside under any or no deal EU regulations will continue to dominate and will be the de facto regulations applied within the UK.

        It does say something about the brexit mindset that such an anachronistic and emotive and innacurate term is used. Perhaps we should describe them as little wessexers

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Unhappy

          "Perhaps we should describe them as little wessexers"

          I rather like that*

          The term, not the people, who'd I'd cheerfully despise, starting with Johnson.

        2. Daniel 18

          Re: My prediction is...

          "(we are subordinate to the US but that is to a large extent inevitable and apparently does not matter)"

          Clearly.

          But not nearly as subordinate as you will become if you leave the EU.

          With ZERO input into decisions.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: My prediction is...

      "We can infer from the noise coming from the MSM and politicians that in fact it is politicians who will be most affected, with lots of MEPS and other parasites losing their jobs."

      So you're categorising as parasites those who work in businesses which were located in the UK to give their foreign workers a UK base. They might not lose their jobs immediately but further investment in those facilities will dry up until they reach EoL and close.

      Wouldn't it be better to classify as parasites those who support Brexit but have moved their own businesses into the remainder of the EU ahead of it? Or are they just hypocrites?

    3. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: My prediction is...

      ...flying in the face of reality.

      And whether we have people in government who understand economics, technology, how to actually negotiate, and infrastructure.

      You don't seem to recognise that we are already lacking such people. Look at what austerity has done to the country, when so many other countries have already recovered from the 2008 crash by managing investment. We have a minister who didn't realise Dover was an important port, and another who didn't understand the fundamental split in Northern Irish politics -- there are 12 year olds who know both those things!

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: My prediction is...

        Another day another brexit argument.

        All I can say is that the UK deserves everything it gets.

        1. Oh Matron!

          Re: My prediction is...

          We got the Brexit we deserved, not the brexit we wanted

          1. John Mangan

            Re: My prediction is...

            @Oh Matron!

            As a Remainer (Bremoaner, etc. ....) I don't know whether to upvote or downvote your comment. I like the subversion of a well-worn phrase but dislike (predictably) the implication that there could be a good Brexit (or even that everyone wanted the same Brexit).

            I kind of like the conflicting sensations in my brain. Thanks.

          2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            Unhappy

            "We got the Brexit we deserved, not the brexit we wanted"

            And you were never going to get it, because the brexit you voted for was a blank sheet of paper.

            That's all it was. A blank sheet of paper that has now been filled in.

            That way Dominic Cummings (the "Career psychopath" as David Cameron called him) could tell each group of (potential) Leave voters whatever story they wanted to hear (once Cambridge Analytica had provided the necessary data to create those stories).

            Because he knew that actually offering a plan would be so divisive to all the different Conservative sub tribes that it would tear the Leave campaign apart. Which it now seems to be doing.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: My prediction is...

        "We have a minister who didn't realise Dover was an important port, and another who didn't understand the fundamental split in Northern Irish politics -- there are 12 year olds who know both those things!"

        While people make fun of the Americans because of their lack of knowledge and understanding of the rest of the world, it truly seems like British politicians and the 'political class' (a problem in itself) as well as various reporters, opinion columnists, political 'experts', and news site comment writers all somehow don't learn about or listen to anything that comes from outside England, and often from nothing that comes from outside inner London.

        This applies across the political spectrum.

    4. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: My prediction is...

      You see comments on The Heil about Brexit being like about Y2K, and in the Grauniad too where some will patiently explain why it is nonsense, but I never thought I'd see it in the Register of all places.

      You cannot compare the contingency planning and work that went into Y2K to the complete lack of the same things for Brexit.

      1. PM from Hell
        Facepalm

        Re: My prediction is...

        The key difference between brexit and Y2K is that Y2K was a well defined issue, whether it was internal microcode, Bios updates or application fixes this was a comparatively simple issue, the fix was well defined, increase any year field to hold the century as well as year number. I was responsible for planning the remediation project in one organisation with 20,000 employees. The overall impact a large pc roll out, many O/S updates, unplanned application upgrades across every department and the manual remediation of several hundred in house written corporate applications and many thousands of user written access and foxpro systems.

        The only way we got the work done in time was to stop all non-statuary changes and divert all development and project staff into supporting the project from 1997 until the end of 1999. Many other organisations found themselves in the same boat. Whilst some contingency planning has taken place and some companies have even invested in property and company establishment in the E.U. many thousands have done nothing yet as they are clinging on by their teeth hoping article 50 is revoked.

    5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: My prediction is...

      "We can infer from the noise coming from the MSM"

      Please define what you mean by "the MSM". Everyone who uses the term seem to have their own unique and personal definition, so it would be helpful to give us your definition. The most common definition seems to be "the MSM are everyone I disagree with" or variations thereof.

      1. DougS Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: My prediction is...

        "the MSM are everyone I disagree with"

        Truer words were never spoken. This "mainstream media" meme needs to die, when you get here you will inevitably end up at full Guiliani "the truth isn't the truth".

        1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

          Re: My prediction is...

          Along with the "Fake News" meme!

    6. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      "that the initial impact of no deal Brexit will be as devastating as...."

      Nice qualification of "initial," Mr AC. A nice little verbal get out clause.

      My prediction of Brexit was that within 2 years the number of people who would admit in public they voted Leave would be less than the number who admitted voting for British Fascism in the 1930s on VE night.

      But it seems people are starting to go anonymous already.

      One things for sure. The UK (and it's citizens) will find out which side was the bigger bu***hiters in the referendum. The only thing I'll guarantee is that Somerset Asset Management will do rather well.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "[...] so we will be able to have blue passports."

    Which we could have had anyway. Going for the suggested EU colour was a voluntary decision taken by the UK government.

    Many of the objections to EU "rules" turn out to be the UK government going beyond the pale when implementing them. It is interesting that many of our privatised "public" services are now owned by their state-owned equivalents from other EU countries.

    My Brexit relatives' main reason for voting Leave was to reduce immigration - from the Indian subcontinent. They weren't listening to Tory ministers saying they would replace EU immigrants with more from what could be termed "The Empire". Non-EU countries are making it very clear that any future trade agreements will require easier immigration to the UK for their nationals.

    The danger is when the Brexit masses feel they have been duped by the politicians. Then they will likely vote for a populist would-be dictator - extreme left or right - who promises them everything they desire.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My gran voted for it because she thought there were too many Chinese now.

      Try and work that one out.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Vote for...

      Then they will likely vote for a populist would-be dictator - extreme left or right - who promises them everything they desire.

      Which is exactly where Corbyn is positioning himself. He'll introduce far left policies and hit everone earning more than the average wage for a huge Income Tax hike to pay for it all.

      History tells us that whenever there is a far left or right party in power we end up very much the porer for it. Oh, those with more than enough money will survive. That's what they do. The rest of us will get hit and hard.

      I was a member of the Labor party for almost 50 years (since Harold Wilson was PM) but resigned when he became leader. His brand of politics won't work but it seems that all of us will have to suffer to prove it.

    3. RegGuy1

      "[...] so we will be able to have blue passports."

      Which we could have had anyway.

      That's exactly my point. The fuckwits are too stupid to know. I bet they couldn't even spell EU, let alone tell you anything about what it is.

      When I asked my father why he voted leave his response, after some thought, was 'we won the war'!!

      Funny that so many of those that voted leave -- so we can make our country great again -- are retired and so won't actually be doing any entrepreneur-ing.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        "so many of those that voted leave -- are retired and so won't..be doing any entrepreneur-ing."

        True.

        And quite a few of them died over the last 2 years (something over plus people died in the UK since 2016).

        Of course repeated Conservative governments have put a "Triple lock" on cutting pensions, mainly because they know pensioners actually vote, unlike the yoof, who've become convinced that "It's all a con, doesn't change anything blah blah."

        Naturally it never occurred to them to wonder who pays those pensions, and how the number of people who pay the taxes that fund them will change (or shrink) post Brexit.

      2. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: "[...] so we will be able to have blue passports."

        Funny that so many of those that voted leave -- so we can make our country great again -- are retired and so won't actually be doing any entrepreneur-ing.

        Nor will they have to worry about their income, safely living off pensions.

        Nor will they have to suffer the consequence of their deluded jingoism for long, unlike the young who didn't want it but will have to live with it for decades.

        How to screw over your kids and grandkids using an X mark.

    4. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      "Brexit relatives' main reason for voting Leave..reduce immigration - from..Indian subcontinent. "

      Funny, many of the British Asians I've talkted to voted Leave to increase it.

      Isn't it handy how Facebook lets you tell two different groups two completely different messages to support exactly the same course.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >Funny, many of the British Asians I've talkted to voted Leave to increase it.

        >Isn't it handy how Facebook lets you tell two different groups two completely different messages to support exactly the same course.

        The Bangladeshi Curry Society (or whatever their actual name is) originally advocated Leave on that premise - to bring in more curry chefs from Bangladesh - unfortunately, many of their restaurants are now suffering financially and they are campaigning for a second referendum/to remain.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's all just smoke and mirrors.....

    I reckon the country effectively went bankrupt 20-30 years ago and everything else since has just been a cover for that, while those that can moved their wealth abroad. Almost everything that the country can sell has been sold, and surely any nation that allows its vital national infrastructure to be owned by foreign states (via whatever fancy corporate structure it takes to hide that fact) has already lost? Those who allowed or arranged that have therefore committed treason, surely?

    The question is what will the government do when we have nothing left to sell and no more rich foreign people want to buy our property, our arms and our whisky?

    1. Oh Matron!

      Re: It's all just smoke and mirrors.....

      You forgot Arms...

      Not need to be anonymous... as you're probably right.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One major risk of a hard Brexit is that panicked/dishonest politicians will sign up to the trade deal that the US have ready for us to sign.

    1. quxinot

      As opposed to the honest politicians?

      I mean, I understand there's a lot of ill-will being spread around, but there's FUD and there's basing your thoughts on absolute fantasy.... 'Honest politicians'... as if!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The more worrying question is...

    I've not seen anyone mention this, but everyone seems to be focussing on adequacy of the UK to hold EU data and there is a bigger elephant in the room - the adequacy of the EU to hold UK personal data, especially with lots of companies choosing Ireland based cloud regions.

    If you read the scope of gdpr, in articles 2 and 3 it essentially says that EU companies have zero obligations to protect UK data after Brexit. For example, art 2.2(b) says "this regulation does not apply...outside union law" (which Brexit could bring). Art 3 says it only applies to data subjects of the EU (which UK citizens will not be).

    If UK government keep GDPR as part of the withdrawal act it means we won't be able to keep data in Europe as there is no adequacy - zero legal protection for UK data. So any UK based companies who have decided that EU west is the right region for UK data may have a bit of a problem...

    Interested to hear other opinions on this.

    1. Ken 16 Silver badge

      Re: The more worrying question is...

      There are a few layers to this, I'll skip the first one (who cares about UK data?) and move to the requirement to cover EU data subjects, effectively all of the Northern Ireland population fall into that category and helpfully the Irish Data Commissioner will care about their data, then there are another 6-12% distributed through the rest of the UK. I agree it will be difficult for a 3rd country, not recognising EU courts, to effectively pursue a prosecution on their behalf but eggs, omelettes, etc. I imagine some clever lawyer can draft a UK mirror of the model clauses for a minimal fee.

  8. Andy 73

    Not so worried by Brexit..

    ..as the fact that some seem to think that adding a byzantine layer of legal requirements to providing online services (all in the name of stopping the big boys, who are now officially the enemy) adds yet more friction to small companies trying to deliver innovative new products.

    China (and America) must be laughing like drains.

    1. Ucalegon

      Re: Not so worried by Brexit..

      Did you just hold up China and America as paradigms of data decency?

      1. Andy 73

        Re: Not so worried by Brexit..

        No, I just pointed out that the two places where innovation is occurring are not the EU or the UK, and that 'we' are doing everything we can to ensure that remains the case.

        Note there is a subtle difference between security of data and the crusade some are going on in the EU to make handling of people's data as onerous as possible.

        1. Ucalegon

          Re: Not so worried by Brexit..

          Subtle but important for private citizens like..... all of us?

  9. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    So what businesses are coming *to* the UK following Brexit, in preference to the EU?

    "Streaky" claimed this another thread but never actually named one. Any one.

    Purveyors of offshore tax havens? Estate agents to Russian oligarchs and gangsters?

    I'm curious what the UK has to offer now its being unplugged from the rest of the EU single market (especially in services, which the City of London deals quite a lot in).

    1. Ken 16 Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: So what businesses are coming *to* the UK following Brexit, in preference to the EU?

      You've named two types of growth business there yourself. Britain will be able to offer greatness and sovereignty after Brexit. It's not to cause foreign business to move to the UK, it's to grow small UK businesses long stiffled by foreign competition; lamplighters, chimney sweeps, scrap dealers, rag and bone men etc.

      As for services, there will need to be customs officers, border guards, revenue men, rationing staff, security guards for food and medicine, undertakers, social welfare clerks, special constables, immigration and custody officers, citizenship police, prison warders, the list goes on.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        As for services..customs officers, border guards, rationing staff, security guards for food

        and medicine, undertakers, social welfare clerks, special constables, immigration and custody officers, citizenship police, prison warders, the list goes on."

        Quite true.

        Now, who's paying for them? Because "Taking back control" is expensive.

        Given the taxbase has suddenly shrunk recently.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: So what businesses are coming *to* the UK following Brexit, in preference to the EU?

      Estate agents to Russian oligarchs and gangsters?

      Why?

      They go where estate will GROW in price so they can invest the money that is being laundered out of Russia.

      The likelihood of real estate market in Britain having any long-term growth in a hard-BrExit scenario is in the sqrt(-1) territory.

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