Companies living in fear of the impending changes to EU data laws have been given a new year boost after a senior MEP admitted the legislation is unlikely to be passed this year.
Although German Green MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht, the vice-chairman of the European Parliament’s civil liberties committee, said the delay was “bad for democracy”, it will give companies using data-driven marketing techniques more opportunity to lobby against the measures and – at worst – afford them more time to change their operations.
At a briefing in the European Parliament, Albrecht said that “even if the Council is ready to negotiate somewhere in June, it is not sure we will finalise a compromise before the end of the year”.
He complained that “Council and Parliament are heading in two completely different directions” and that the current approach of “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” was to blame for the delay in negotiations.
But many in the direct marketing community will not be complaining; in November last year, former DMA director of public affairs Caroline Roberts – a leading force in the industry’s fight against tougher regulation for over a decade – urged firms to step up their lobbying efforts.
Roberts – who is now a consultant at Opt-4 – urged organisations to carry on the fight, “because there is still a lot of room for negotiation”.
The main sticking points are informed consent for the use of data, sanctions, privacy by design and red tape, according to Albrecht.
The UK Government continues to press for the Regulation to be scrapped and replaced by a Directive, which will give each member state the chance to adopt different measures, rather than over-arching legislation across the EU.
In response, Albrecht said: “If ministers want a Data Protection Regulation (DPR), it will be up to the Council to deliver it. If they want to allow companies to regulate themselves, they have to beef up the rights of individuals to overcome this with stronger levels of protection.”
But he warned that failure to agree to the DPR would encourage and increase snooping of security services on citizens in Europe.
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