EU Ministers and UK Government wary of draft EU data reform | DMA

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EU Ministers and UK Government wary of draft EU data reform

The Council of Ministers and the UK Government recognise the adverse economic impact of the draft EU Data Protection Regulation. Both feel that in its current form it stifles business and is especially harmful to the digital economy.

Council of Ministers’ concerns
The Council of Ministers, which is made up of representatives from the national governments of all the EU Member States, is concerned that the proposals would stifle the development of the internet by hampering the targeted advertising which pays for most of the free services offered to users and affect the digital economy. They also felt that some of the proposals were a step too far, such as the individual’s right to be forgotten.

The Council of Ministers expressed these concerns at an informal meeting in Dublin on 18 January 2013.

UK Government’s view
The UK Government supports the Justice Select Committee’s call for the EU data protection proposals to go back to the drawing board.

The Government’s response to the Commons Justice Select Committee Report broadly supports the Committee’s recommendations and sets out the Government’s negotiating position on the draft Regulation.

1. EU Directive not Regulation
The Government wants to see a Data Protection Directive rather than a Regulation. It believes that a Directive would allow for pan-European harmonisation in areas where it is advantageous (for example, fundamental principles, data subject rights) leaving flexibility in other areas.

2. Supports greater harmonisation
It supports the mechanism to ensure that the national data protection authorities in all the Member States interpret the legislation in a common way.

3. Balance the needs of business and individuals
The current draft text is too prescriptive. It believes that “EU data protection legislation must secure individual’s privacy without placing constraints on business practices that harm innovation and growth”.

4. Keep subject access request fees
The Government believes that removal of the fee charged for individuals to be able to access their information from organisations would lead to an influx of repeat and vexatious requests. This can be backed up from responses to the Ministry of Justice’s Call for Evidence in 2010 on how the data protection legislation was working in practice.

5. Remove obligation to appoint data protection officers
Businesses should not be obliged to appoint a dedicated, in-house data protection officer. The Government believes that there are other methods to ensure businesses are accountable for their data protection compliance.

The DMA will keep members updated of developments on the draft Data Protection Regulation in this newsletter and elsewhere on the DMA website. On Friday 8 February, the DMA also launched an online data protection toolkit, the marketing industry's first comprehensive guide to how the Regulation could impact all marketing sectors and how to lobby MEPs.

James Milligan, DMA Solicitor, 020 7291 3360.

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