European Parliament Adopts Resolution On Reform Of Data Protection Directive

Author:Ms Monika Kuschewsky
Profession:Van Bael & Bellis

On 6 July 2011, the European Parliament adopted a non-binding resolution (the "Resolution") on the communication of the European Commission (the "Commission") on a "comprehensive approach on personal data protection in the European Union" (the "Communication"). This Communication was published on 4 November 2010 and sets out the Commission's strategy for the reform of EU Directive 95/46 of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (the "Data Protection Directive") (See, Van Bael & Bellis on Belgian Business Law, Volume 2010, No. 11, p. 3).

In the Resolution, the European Parliament welcomes the Communication and its key objectives: (i) strengthening individuals' rights; (ii) enhancing the internal market; (iii) revising the data protection rules in the area of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters; (iv) ensuring a high level of protection for international data transfers; and (v) enforcing the data protection rules more efficiently. In addition, the European Parliament endorses the new measures considered by the Commission, including the introduction of a "right to be forgotten", the principle of "data portability", the principle of "accountability" and the principle of "privacy by design". The European Parliament calls on the Commission to ensure that the revised legal framework will provide for full harmonisation at the highest level and coherence and consistency, while keeping bureaucratic and financial burdens to a minimum.

As regards obligations for data controllers, the European Parliament welcomes in particular the possibility of making the appointment of data protection officers mandatory and considers it essential to make privacy impact assessments compulsory. Moreover, it encourages the Commission to introduce a system of mandatory general personal data breach notifications.

The Resolution also raises a number of issues which the European Parliament urges the Commission to take into account when drafting its legislative proposal for the reform of the Data Protection Directive.

For instance, the Resolution calls on the Commission to respond to the increasing use of social networking sites and online behavioural advertising and the privacy risks these entail. In particular, it urges the Commission to include in its legislative proposal provisions on profiling and specific rules to protect vulnerable persons, especially children...

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