IT Law in the United Kingdom after Brexit
It is difficult to find a more appropriate introduction than the words of this song in the attempt to assess what IT Law could look like in the UK at the time (whenever that may be1 ) when its exit from the EU might be concluded. Speculation is normally more in the realm of futurists than in that of a lawyer whose profession traditionally values qualities such as stability and predictability. These are not normal times and it may be helpful to consider some of the issues and topics that will require to be addressed in the near future. It is not the purpose of the article to repeat the arguments for and against UK membership of the EU. It seeks, rather, to highlight some of the issues that will inevitably arise following what has been described as the largest demerger in history – with what has been described as the world’s 5th largest economy2 seeking to disengage itself from the world’s largest trading block. It is difficult to imagine that there has ever been such a legislative challenge. The information sector is an increasingly important part of the national economy and consideration of some of the issues affecting it makes for an interesting case study.
This article will focus on four legal topics; data protection, e-commerce, intellectual property and telecommunications. This is by no means an exhaustive list of the issues, even in the IT sector, that need to be addressed, but may serve to highlight some of the key points that will be required for consideration by legislators and to indicate also the scale of the task facing them. In some cases, the quest to seek answers will lie within the control of the UK legislature and government but other issues may be more difficult to resolve independently