New EU data protection laws this year

January 30th 2015

The European Union has indicated that the widely-awaited General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will finally come into force later this year.

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EU Vice President Andrus Ansip and Commissioner Vera Jourova have stated in a joint blog that the reforms would bring EU's data protection practices up to date.

“Citizens and businesses are waiting for the modernisation of data protection rules to catch up with the digital age,” they said in a statement. “New technologies are emerging fast and have enormous potential for our society and economy. This potential can only be fully realised if people can trust the way their personal data is used. Ensuring trust will allow the European Digital Single Market to live up to its full potential. EU data protection reform, which will cut red tape for business and ensure a single set of rules, is part of the solution.”

“EU Data Protection reform also includes new rules for police and criminal justice authorities when they exchange data across the EU. This is very timely, not least in light of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris. There is need to continue and to intensify our law enforcement cooperation. Robust data protection rules will foster more effective cooperation based on mutual trust."

“We must conclude the on-going negotiations on the data protection reform before the end of this year. By the 10th European Data Protection Day, we are confident that we will be able to say that the EU remains the global gold standard in the protection of personal data".

SC Magazine spoke to Stewart Room, privacy lawyer and partner at PwC, who believes that the GDPR is good news and that businesses should do all they can to comply. He told the magazine: “The joint statement expresses confidence and optimism that the EU data protection reform process will be completed by the time we reach the next Data Protection Day in 2016.  Of course, nothing is guaranteed, because the completion of the reforms requires the agreement of all the EU member states, but it does seem that the confidence and optimism is well placed: the reform process is much closer to its end than its beginning."

Mr Room continued: “Clearly, businesses need to take action now, to assess the extent to which they may need to make adjustments to their business practices to meet the requirements of the new law.  They shouldn't leave this analysis until the political negotiations are complete, because they won't have enough time to make the required adjustments by the time the law actually comes into effect.

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