Key vote on draft Data Protection Regulation delayed | DMA

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Key vote on draft Data Protection Regulation delayed

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A key vote on the draft Data Protection Regulation in the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) in the European Parliament has been further delayed until mid to late June 2013. This gives DMA members more time to lobby their local MEP. Jan Phillipe Albrecht, the German Green MEP leading the LIBE work on the draft Regulation, is confident that the vote will take place before the European parliament goes into recess for the summer. LIBE is still working its way through the 3,000 amendments tabled by MEPs.

Privacy pressure groups have red-flagged 46 of the 3,000 amendments as being against the interests of consumers. They feel the 46 amendments will:

1. weaken the definition of consent to processing of personal information

2. make it easier for organisations to profile people without their permission

3. allow companies to process personal information without notifying individuals

4. enable organisations to trace people’s identities through the use of pseudonymous data

In a recent interview, Albrecht confirmed that small companies who do not process personal information as a core activity will not need to appoint a full-time data protection officer. Instead national data protection authorities will be able to review their data protection practices on a case-by-case basis if there is a need.

However, this will not really help most DMA members, as their core activity is likely to be the processing of personal information. He also maintained that the level of fines at a maximum of 2% of global turnover was appropriate but that this should be proportionate to the size of the organisation.

What Albrecht did not clarify is whether or not national data protection authorities should be given flexibility in determining the level of fine based on the nature of the breach. The current text of the Regulation prescribes what the level of fine should be for particular breaches and does not provide for any discretion.

If you have not already done so, please let all your regional MEPs know your thoughts on the draft Regulation. You can also read more about the data reform debate on our microsite.

James Milligan, Solicitor, Direct Marketing Association

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