EU Considers Changes to Data Protection Rules

18 Mar 2013
HomeNews StoriesSecurityEU Considers Changes to Data Protection Rules

The European Commission’s draft data protection regulation is meeting with stiff opposition from a variety of groups who worry that it will not sufficiently protect consumers.

The draft regulation is the first major update to the data protection directive from 1995. The aim of the update is to bring it into line with the current technological environment. While the 1995 directive has been implemented across the 27 member states of the EU, each member state also has its own regulations. The draft regulation attempts to bring these regulations into a single document.

The draft is intended to provide a single data protection law that is valid across Europe. Non-European companies trading in the EU, and providing services to EU residents, would also need to follow the new law.

However, others are concerned that it will create too much red tape, especially for smaller companies. With data protection being a concern for customers, the worry is that these new regulations will make it difficult for smaller companies to compete against larger companies.

At the same time, the current draft has been criticised for being too strict. Companies such as Facebook and Google have lobbied against the draft, and Washington has expressed concern over the potential fines that could be levied against companies that breach the rules.

Many groups are in support of the draft, though. One such group, Data Protection in Europe, is made up of over 80 academics from the computer science, law, economics, and business administration fields. Together they are lobbying the EU to approve the draft.

The draft is expected to pass to the EU civil liberties committee in April before a plenary vote later in the year.


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