EU: The Data Protection reform – One Year On

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One year ago, the European Commission presented a comprehensive reform of the EU’s 1995 data protection rules to strengthen online privacy rights and boost Europe’s digital economy. Technological progress and globalisation have profoundly changed the way our data is collected, accessed and used. In addition, the 27 EU Member States have implemented the 1995 rules differently, resulting in divergences in enforcement. A single law will do away with the current fragmentation and costly administrative burdens. This will save businesses around €2.3 billion a year. The initiative will help reinforce consumer confidence in online services, providing a much needed boost to growth, jobs and innovation in Europe.

How will the data protection reform boost economic growth?

Sharing data has become crucial for economic growth. Privacy protection and the free flow of data are complementary not contradictory concepts.

To flourish, the digital economy needs trust. Many people do not have confidence about giving out their personal data online. This means they are less likely to use online services and other technologies. According to a GSMA study 9 out of 10 smartphone users are concerned about mobile apps collecting their data without their consent, and say they want to know when the data on their smartphone is being shared with a third party.

Strong, reliable, consistently applied rules will make data processing safer, cheaper and strengthen people’s confidence. Confidence in turn drives growth. This is a message that is well understood worldwide. In a letter to the European Parliament strongly supporting the data protection reform package, 25 major U.S. consumer organisations stressed that “stronger privacy standards in Europe will benefit consumers around the globe”.

What does the reform do for business?

The proposed EU data protection law will do three things to help business to contribute to growth:

First, it will cut costs and increase legal certainty by replacing the current patchwork of laws in Europe with a single uniform set of rules for all 27 European Union countries.

It will cut red tape by introducing a one-stop shop for businesses to deal with regulators. In the future, companies will only have to deal with the data protection authorities in the EU country in which they are based.

They will also no longer be obliged to notify every single data processing activity to national regulators. Here to read more.

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