EU data laws ‘just got a lot worse’

Both the DMA and ISBA have attacked the latest changes to the proposed EU Data Protection Regulation, amid claims that UK businesses will suffer even more if they are sanctioned by Brussels.
The move follows a response to the draft by German MEP Jan Albrecht of the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice & Home Affairs Committee, earlier this week.
According to the DMA, Albrecht’s amendments to clauses such as those regarding the definition of personal data, limitations on customer profiling, consent to direct marketing and the so-called ‘right to be forgotten’ will severely infringe the right of businesses to use data to market their goods and services to consumers.
This would have an immediate knock-on effect for businesses; recent research published by the DMA revealed that UK businesses invested £14.2bn in data-driven marketing in 2012, which generated 23% of their total sales.
The industry body fears that EU lawmakers have failed to address the sector’s concerns on the original proposals as they have yet to strike the appropriate balance between protecting consumer rights to data privacy and the legitimate interests of business.
Caroline Roberts, director of public affairs at the DMA and one of the main drivers of calls for a rethink, said: “These amendments are even worse for UK businesses. The proposed legislation is overly strict and unworkable. It will stifle innovation, add considerable cost to business and place unnecessary obstacles to e-commerce jobs and growth.”
“We’ll continue to lobby both UK ministers and MEPs to ensure they understand the need to create a balanced piece of legislation that protects the data privacy rights of individuals and the commercial interests of businesses.”
Meanwhile Ian Twinn, ISBA’s director of public affairs, said: “The EU’s data protection proposal just got much worse. Advertisers will be concerned about the widening of the definition of ‘personal data’ and the extension of the need for ‘explicit consent’.
He added: “We will continue to lobby Brussels, with the World Federation of Advertisers, to bring some common sense back into the debate and try to mitigate the harm that these ill-thought out proposals represent to our members.”

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