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The need for robust data protection and privacy standards has never been greater in today’s global operations, where data flows across borders with unparalleled speed and frequency. The United Kingdom has taken a significant stride forward by becoming the world’s first country to be granted Associate status in the Global Cross Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) Forum. This achievement opens the doors to international collaboration and paves the way for the UK to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of global data transfers and security.


The Significance of Associate Status


The Global CBPR Forum is a critical international body facilitating safe and secure international data transfers between member countries. It is dedicated to upholding stringent standards in data protection and privacy. Associate status in the Forum positions the UK as a leader in the global effort to harmonise data transfer regulations. Member countries include not only the UK but also the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Philippines, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, and Australia.


International Data Flows and Economic Growth


International data transfers are the lifeblood of modern global business. In 2021, 93% of the UK’s service exports were data-enabled. This figure underscores the growing importance of the seamless data flow between countries as a critical driver of economic growth. With Associate status in the CBPR Forum, the UK has a unique opportunity to collaborate with its international partners and design solutions that promote innovation while safeguarding personal data as it crosses borders.


An Integrated Approach to Data Security and Data Transfers


Minister for Data and Digital Infrastructure, Sir John Whittingdale, emphasised the importance of the UK’s association with the Global CBPR Forum in building a practical and functional system for global data transfers. He highlighted that ensuring the safety and security of personal data during international transfers is paramount. With its already high data protection standards, the UK is well-positioned to share its expertise and approach on the global stage alongside the CBPR Forum.


The Global CBPR System: A Beacon of Data Privacy


The Global CBPR system is a government-backed data privacy certification program that allows companies to demonstrate their compliance with internationally recognizedrecognised data privacy protections. Industry giants such as Apple, IBM, and Mastercard have already obtained certification under this framework. It stands out as one of the few bodies facilitating secure data flows across multiple countries, thereby removing barriers and striving toward universal data transfer standards.


UK’s Post-Brexit Data Protection Regime


Since it departed from the European Union, the UK has seized the opportunity to create a new data rights regime. The Data Protection and Digital Information Bill has played a crucial role in reducing business burdens, aligning with the Prime Minister’s economic growth agenda and unlocking innovation potential across science and technology.


Leading the Way in CBPR Expansion


In April 2022, the CBPR Forum expanded its reach beyond the Asia-Pacific region, and the UK became the first jurisdiction to be accepted as an Associate, a newly created membership status within the group. This recognition was not arbitrary; it followed the UK’s co-hosting of a Forum workshop in London alongside the United States earlier that year. The workshop sought to explore how the CBPR system can be strengthened to align with the data privacy regimes of diverse countries.




The UK’s Associate status in the Global CBPR Forum is a landmark achievement in data protection and international data transfers. It symbolises the nation’s commitment to fostering international collaboration, setting high standards for data security, and driving innovation in the digital age. As the world grapples with data privacy and security complexities, the UK stands at the forefront, ready to lead and shape the future of global data protection.