This week, techUK took its fourth delegation of UK startups and growth SME companies to Brussels to champion UK tech with MEPs, and talk about the challenges and opportunities of the Digital Single Market and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Once again, we were pleased to be joined on the trip by Coadec, the policy voice of UK start-ups. The delegation met with European Parliamentarians from across key political groupings and wider policy-makers. The delegation was made up of some exciting UK data-driven companies including Yoti, a cybersecurity and digital identity company, Zesty, a health tech startup, WeArePopUp, a digital platform for entrepreneur retailers, and Shaping Cloud, a cloud platform provider.
Our two day delegation was kick-started with a morning event 'Turning up the data tap – Enabling European startups and scaleups to thrive in the Digital Single Market'. This breakfast event was hosted by Co.Station, a hub for European startups, located in the heart of Brussels. This discussion saw Vicky Ford MEP (ECR, UK), Paul Hofheinz, President of the Lisbon Council and Eva Paunova MEP (EPP, Bulgaria) join our delegation to discuss how Europe's approach to data will either underpin or undermine the Digital Single Market.
The visit comes at a critical point in the GDPR trilogue negotiations where we discussed key issues impacting the growth companies in our delegation, such as the right conditions for consent, the implications of joint liability and how data profiling can drive great services for consumers.
Issues such as consent will be vital for businesses as it plays a key role in ensuring consumer trust. Establishing unambiguous consent will create a platform for consumers to make informed decisions while allowing companies to innovate and scale. We know that profiling is key to unlocking new services that improve consumer choice and help prevent fraud for both businesses and consumers. Our delegation discussed these issues and more with a range of MEPs helping to shed light on how these issues will affect their business and consumers.
The key takeaway from our meetings with MEPs was that there is a real desire to understand the implications of the GDPR on innovative and data driven growth companies. It is vital that the final regulation continues to allow these data-driven businesses, which are critical to creating new jobs and growth, to innovate, scale and provide clear protection for consumers.
The techUK and Coadec delegation met with the following MEPs and stakeholders:
- Permanent Representation of the United Kingdom to the EU
- Permanent Representation of Sweden to the EU
- Office of Axel Voss MEP (EPP, Germany)
- Daniel Dalton MEP (ECR, UK)
- Roberta Metsola MEP (EPP, Malta)
- Marietje Schaake MEP (ALDE, Netherlands)
- Pilar del Castillo Vera MEP (EPP, Spain)
- Pablo Zalba Bidegain MEP (EPP, Spain)
- Theresa Griffin MEP (S&D, UK)
- Office of Catherine Sithler MEP (S&D, UK)
- Thierry Masson & Kristian Lund Kofoed, ALDE group policy advisors
- Ana Gomes MEP (S&D, Portugal)
If you would like further information on techUK's work on Data Protection and our ongoing engagement with Brussels policy-makers, please contact Shane Murphy.