In 63 days, the UK will might not who knows could be leaving the European Union, a move that is set to have significant impacts on how the UK trades and operates in the world and currently that’s what we’ve mostly been talking about isn’t it. But, what about the digital world? How will it affect the internet and the IT industry at large a realm where physical barriers don’t often exist? Well, while the ultimate answer is we don’t know because our Government doesn’t appear to either we can take what facts we have and speculate where the areas are a little greyer.

 

Your .eu domain will leave.eu

Your .EU domain will no longer be yours. In fact, even the leave.eu website will cease to be as to own a .eu domain your business will need a presence in the EU. Losing a domain will mean your website becomes inaccessible, emails stop working and any other system you have using your .eu domain. In fact, the European commission set out in March 2018 that nearly 300,000 UK registrants will have their EU domain cancelled if you are a using a .eu domain for your UK based business you need to get a new domain now.

 

GDPR, will it stay or will it go now?

GDPR could go one of two ways. The UK could adopt it in full which means no changes whatsoever. The UK could also adopt a totally different legal framework which would mean that businesses might ostracise their European clients less they support two legal frameworks to suite the UK and the remaining 27 EU nations. Support multiple legal frameworks could prove costly, some estimates put the cost of GDPR for FTSE100 companies being some £15m so having to support a new UK Data Protection framework could be costly.

 

Digital Single Market

This is one of those great promises that the UK may not see come to fruition as we will be departing before its implementation but, it promised to deliver an initiative to focus resources by concentrating standard setting in a set of core technologies including 5G, IoT, Cloud, Cybersecurity and Data Technologies. Business in the UK could struggle to compete in the EU if it is forced to use a different UK standard.

 

Employment

This is harder to pinpoint as we still have no idea what Brexit will even mean but we can make assumptions based on a no-deal or Theresa May’s deal outcomes. London houses around 30% of UK datacentres, the majority of which support financial institutions which look to lose their passporting. Losing the passporting is a significantly damaging blow to London’s financial sector which will (and already is) leaving. The result will likely be that demand for London’s datacentres reduces which will see a reduction in hosting companies’ profits and will impact employment. As for other industries we don’t really know; manufacturing is likely to be hit hard by importing if the projected delays of boarder’s checks are to be believed this could see the need for business to make cuts to survive and unfortunately IT much other non-profiting departments generally see cuts. All in all, a Theresa May deal might not be great but a no deal Brexit for IT and tech industry seems pretty bleak for employment. Unless…

 

Talent

We can’t talk about EU without Freedom of Movement. The end of Freedom of movement could potentially see EU workers turn their back on the UK and leave potentially opening work placements. This is both good news and bad however, business will potentially lose talent, but British IT workers may get the last laugh as positions open. In a best-case scenario this could also spell the end of the race to bottom of salaries that has been created by tech companies taking advantage of workers from the EU. Either way I think it will be sad to lose some of the wonderful current and former colleagues of mine who have migrated from the EU.


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