What Happens To New Email Rules If The UK Leaves The EU?

There are a lot of "what if" questions around the EU right now, particularly regarding the potential for the UK to wake up on June 24th to find the country's citizens have voted for Brexit.

At the top of most email marketers' questions is likely to be what happens to the GDPR if the UK were to vote to in June's referendum to leave the EU? It's a relevant question this week considering that it is now exactly two years until the new law comes in to effect with its potential for huge fines. Well, it turns out the advice for marketers to get cracking on adhering to the new, tighter regulations is well-placed. Get going now on "repermissioning" lists to ensure that customers and leads have given you informed consent and you will be ready for the directive becomes an enforceable law across the whole of the EU.

OK -- so you're probably still wondering why shouldn't you at least wait until June 24th to see which way the referendum has gone. To be honest, it's an understandable position that I bet most marketers take. Why rush to get started on a project that you have two years on when the UK might not even enshrine the law on to the statute book after all?

But here's the catch. No matter what the Brexit backers say, nearly half of the UK's overseas trade is with the EU -- and this will not change overnight. So is a British brand or agency seriously going to contemplate having its email lists working to today's laws when the rest of the EU has moved on to tighter protection and informed consent? Put it this way -- any British brand or agency wanting to keep data on EU citizens, even if the UK has withdrawn from the union, will still need to afford those citizens the full protection of the law. That is the interpretation of events that i'm hearing and it makes sense.

So the long and short of it is, whatever the UK public decides on June 23rd, GDPR will still be in place for all EU citizens and they will be protected by the GDPR. Brands and marketers looking to do business inside the EU will need to adhere to it.

So by all means take until June 24th to decide what to do -- but in reality, the vote will have little impact on the new obligations regarding how you store data belonging to EU citizens.

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