The EU is calling for progress on reforms to modernise Europe’s 1995 data protection rules, improving online privacy rights and helping businesses.
The reforms would apply a single set of rules across the EU, to simplify and standardise the 1995 regulations which have been implemented differently across the bloc.
People would be provided with easier access to their own data and the ‘right to be forgotten’, enabling them to have their information deleted if there are no legitimate grounds for retaining it.
National data protection authorities would also be given the power to fine companies that breach the rules, and personal data gathered for the purposes of law enforcement would be better protected.
9 out of 10 Europeans say they are concerned about mobile apps collecting their data without their consent. 7 out of 10 are concerned about how companies might use the information they disclose. Strengthening data protection could help restore some of this trust.
Draft legislation was set out by the European Commission in January 2012 but must be approved by the EU’s joint lawmaking bodies, the Parliament and EU Council, to become law. It is hoped this could be achieved by the end of the year.
The EU is also negotiating measures to restore trust in data flows between the EU and US.
Right to data protection
Personal data includes everything from a person’s address to their medical information or posts on social networking sites. EU citizens have the right to personal data protection under the Charter of Fundamental Rights.
Benefits for business
The proposals would reduce administrative costs for businesses, with estimated savings of €2.3bn a year.
They would also level the playing field by applying the same rules on data protection to all companies operating in the EU, even if based outside the single market.
There will be some exemptions for small businesses to reduce the financial burden.
EU Data Protection Day - join the debate
To mark the EU Data Protection Day on 28 January, EU experts will be answering questions about data protection in a live Twitter chat from 12.00 to 13.30 CET on 28 January. You can join using the hashtags #EUdataP and #EUchat.