On June 8, 2023, the United States and the United Kingdom jointly announced the Atlantic Declaration, outlining a new economic partnership for the twenty-first century. The declaration acknowledges the long-standing bond between the two nations and establishes a framework for enhanced cooperation in critical areas such as data transfers and artificial intelligence (AI).
It is important to note that the Action Plan of the declaration contains five (5) key pillars: ensuring U.S.– U.K. leadership in critical and emerging technologies; advancing ever-closer cooperation on our economic security and technology protection toolkits and supply chains; partnering on an inclusive and responsible digital transformation; building the clean energy economy of the future; and further strengthening our alliance across defence, health security, and space.
Most notably, the third pillar on partnering on an inclusive and responsible digital transformation, presents a unique opportunity to deepen economic and technological ties by assisting organisations to demonstrate data protection and privacy compliance though mutual understanding.
According to the UK Government’s Policy Paper, (i) enhancing cooperation on data, (ii) accelerating cooperation on AI, and (ii) deepening collaboration on Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETs) are among the main focuses of the third pillar of the Framework.
To enhance the cooperation on data, the new commitment involves establishing the UK Extension to the EU-US Data Privacy Framework to create a ‘data bridge’ between the UK and the US. In principle, the data bridge would enable pre-approved American organisations to safely receive personal data from the UK. The UK government claims the data bridge will remove the “burdensome red tape” it says is currently required when transferring personal data from the UK to the US, namely the standardised contracts used by most businesses to meet their data transfer obligations under the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The Atlantic Declaration also builds on previous AI governance efforts undertaken by organisations like the G7, OECD, UNESCO, ISO, African Union, and Council of Europe to establish consensus and share expertise on regulations governing AI implementation. It encourages the collaboration between the UK and the US on responsible and safe development of AI and calls for new ways to monitor AI-related risks. The UK is also set to host the first international governmental summit on AI safety this autumn.
Finally, the cooperation on PETs aims to merge data mining and data utilization with an emphasis on privacy and ethics. The intention is to gain more valuable insights from data, responsibly train AI models to enable economic and societal benefits, and to protect individuals’ privacy rights.