EU justice minister Viviane Reding has claimed the European data protection reforms are “progressing well”, despite the legislation’s rocky passage through the Commission – nearly two years down the line and no sign of a final agreement, let alone vote.
Speaking ahead of Data Protection Day 2014 (today) Reding stressed that the last update – passed in 1995 – took five years to get the green light, so getting the EU General Data Protection Regulation passed by the end of 2014 will be a “good result”.
She said: “We need to get serious on data protection. The European Parliament understood and its LIBE committee voted in October for a strong Regulation, with credible sanctions to ensure European rules are respected.
“Last week in Athens, the three institutions – the European Commission, the two European Parliament rapporteurs and the Greek and incoming Italian Presidencies of the EU – agreed on a roadmap to get the data protection reform agreed before the end of this year.
“Considering that the 1995 Data Protection Directive took five years to negotiate, this is a rather good result. This is also in line with the conclusions reached by Heads of State and Government at their October European Summit at which they agreed that the data protection Regulation should be in place in all Member States by latest 2015.”
However, despite her comments, there are still substantial hurdles to negotiate, not least the European Parliamentary elections in May this year which could see hundreds of new MEPs voted in, who have not even seen the proposed laws.
There is also the thorny issue of the “one-stop shop” approach, which would see the data protection authority of the country in which companies operate having sole jurisdiction; a plan which has been deemed illegal by one EU advisor.
In addition there are concerns about what constitutes consent for marketing data; the rise of “pseudonymised data”; the transfer of data between the EU and US, whether medical patient information should be exempt, as well as the cost of hiring data protection officers.
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