Data protection proposals might harm your business

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IT companies warn for bureaucracy, prohibitions and high fines resulting from the European Commission’s proposals on strengthening personal data protection in the EU.

“These proposals will significantly increase bureaucracy and I am not sure they will improve consumer protection,” Chris Sherwood (Director Public Policy, Yahoo!) stated at a conference on the business world’s position on the draft regulation. According to the Swedish firm Ericsson, through Rene Summer (Director of Government and Industry Relations), the EU already has the strictest regulations on personal data protection, while “growth comes from outside”.

He urged the Europeans “not to widen the gap” with other parts of the world. European Commission’s Rosa Barcelo (DG Connect) defended the proposals by saying that “the long-term objective is to harmonise data protection, not to lower European standards to global levels”.

Many companies also complain about the costs if they are required to hire a data protection officer. According to the University in Venice, for the 40,000 large companies based in the EU, the total cost would be €3 billion: €75,000 per firm.

DG Connect replied that several measures aim precisely to lessen the cost for companies. These include the idea of harmonising EU legislation to a maximum through a regulation and making the national data protection authority in the country of their European head office the main authority with which they would deal in the event of a dispute. These two elements are attractive to companies, according to the Commission.

The European Commission published a memo on the current status regarding data protection: The Data Protection reform – One Year On Reform.

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