The Information Commissioner’s Office has conceded that the progress of the draft EU Data Protection Regulation is as clear as mud, with the row over the US spying scandal making matters even worse.
With the Parliament, Council and Commission in summer recess, deputy UK commissioner David Smith has written a blog post in an effort to keep companies up to speed with what is happening to the new data laws.
However, it he admits to having no “great inside knowledge” about whether they will be passed before the next European elections in May 2014.
Smith added: “What is in no doubt is that there is still much work to be done before next year’s deadline when the terms of office of both MEPs and the current European Commissioners come to an end. There’s no shortage of political will, and it’s not just [EU justice minister] Viviane Reding who wants change, with the Council and the Parliament also keen.
“What might defeat the proposals though is the sheer size of the task ahead. There are so many difficult issues to reach agreement on, everything from the meaning of ‘pseudonymous’ data to the size of the proposed fines.”
He goes on to cite the Edward Snowden whistleblowing scandal, adding: “It may be that the revelations spur on a renewed drive to agree the Regulation in the autumn but equally they could be another complication making agreement even more difficult to achieve.”
Adding its support to the new proposals, Smith says the ICO is “still hopeful that we will see a new and sensible framework emerge. Modernisation of the law is needed. It’s crucial that it is not just a political result but also a result that genuinely enhances the protection of everyone’s personal information while providing a clear, proportionate and workable solution for businesses to apply”.