Privacy Matters

European Union Drafting Stringent Data Privacy Regulation

Data privacy has been in the public eye quite a lot recently (Snowden, et al) but in reality it has been on the front burner of various news feeds for quite sometime, particularly in Europe. This summer the European Union continues pouring a lot of energy into crafting the most stringent data privacy regulation to date–an upgrade of its existing Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC and since it will be a regulation instead of a directive it can be enacted in EU countries without the need for national legislation. If all goes as expected (though there are still a number of hurdles to get over in getting the final draft in place), the new data privacy regulation has slowed as it goes through the labyrinth of competing interests in the EU, but it is on track to be completed within the next couple of years. The new law will impact how consumer data is handled by companies doing business within the EU Community and could constrain, even further, the movement of electronic information across national borders. As an offshoot of this, the EU is considering negating the existing safe harbor agreement with the United States (this is presently undergoing intense negotiation). If the safe harbor agreement ends it would greatly impact the ability of American companies to collect data from their European customers. Stay tuned for more updates and steps of how to prepare for the new legislation.

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