Brussels ‘at war’ over new data laws

Brussels mandarins are reported to be at war over the proposed changes to EU data protection laws, with six departments forcing Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding to quickly rewrite many of the key elements included in her original text.
And EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, who is in charge of the delicate negotiations with the US on data transfers, is even threatening to derail the whole process.
The review of the old EU data protection rules has been on the cards for years, since the original laws were written back in 1998, but Reding’s plans to go ahead with the review have been regularly delayed.
When they were first leaked critics claimed the new laws would create online havoc. As well as an enforced opt-in, companies faced having to implement customers’ right to be forgotten – a move branded “unenforceable”.
Despite the controversy, sources close to Reding have dismissed reports of a delay and claim most of the pending issues have been resolved. Officials are sticking to their guns and believe the new legislative package will be presented on January 25, as originally planned.
It is understood one of the main sticking points was the controversial plan that companies would have to gain consent from customers every time they used their personal data, rendering many direct marketing and digital campaigns virtually impossible. However, it is believed this has now been watered down.
In a recent blog, EU Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: “Rules must take account of the impact on businesses as well as on citizens. And we can’t afford to stifle innovative entrepreneurs and new ideas. If we are too rigid and controlling, we will serve no-one’s interests. Because, faced with too many restrictive rules and obligations, would-be data controllers may just take their bright ideas outside the EU – or give up all together.”

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1 Comment on "Brussels ‘at war’ over new data laws"

  1. Charlie says: “This all smacks of typical political posturing, but the EU must not lose sight of the fact that any change in the law will cost businesses millions to implement. Admittedly, in this digital age, the laws probably do need updating, but as Commissioner Kroes warns – we can’t afford to stifle innovative entrepreneurs and new ideas.”

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