Friday, 30 December 2011

Tougher data protection laws on the way

The European Commission has long been concerned about how Internet businesses treat personal data. Its proposals for a new data protection regulation (to replace the present directive and overcome the problems that arise from the need to transpose the rules into national law) are due to be published on 25 January. The Commission aims to give consumers the power to control the way their personal data are processed by companies, and to impose a bit more discipline on data controllers by introducing fines of 5% of global turnover for businesses who are found to be in breach of data protection laws.

The draft also proposes to introduce obligatory data protection officers for all public sector bodies and private sector bodies with more than 250 employees. The directive made that something that Member States could choose to have: Germany already had it when the directive came into force, hence its inclusion, but the UK government always said it would not be taking up the option. Now it seems it will have no choice - but what organisation of that size doesn't already have a data protection officer, even if they have a load of other responsibilities too?

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