More bureaucracy, prohibitions, high fines and more will result from the proposals under review on strengthening personal data protection in the EU, according to information technology firms, whose objections nevertheless come in varying shades(1).

"These proposals will significantly increase bureaucracy and I am not sure they will improve consumer protection," said Chris Sherwood of Yahoo! at a conference on the business world's position on the draft regulation, on 24 January in Brussels. For Rene Summer, of the Swedish firm Ericsson, the EU already has the strictest regulations on personal data protection, while "growth comes from outside". He urged the Europeans "not to widen the gap" with other parts of the world. That view annoyed the Commission representative. "The long-term objective is to harmonise data protection, not to lower European standards to global levels," said Rosa Barcelo of DG Digital Agenda.

Many large companies also complain about the costs that will result if they are required to appoint a data protection official. According to Federico Etro of Ca' Foscari University in Venice, for the 40,000 large companies based in the EU, the total cost would be 3 billion, or 75,000 per firm. These figures take account of the fact that such an obligation already exists in certain countries.

Barcelo replied that several measures aim precisely to lessen the cost for companies. These include the idea of harmonising EU legislation to a maximum through a regulation and making the national data protection authority in the country of their European head office (or where their main activities are based) the main authority with which they would deal in the event of a dispute. These two elements are attractive to companies.


"Data protection is absolutely necessary," but "the proposals are a bit too binding," said Daniel Pradelles, in charge of data protection for Hewlett-Packard, who talked to Europolitics information society outside the conference. In his opinion...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT