EU Data Protection reform explained

23/12/2015

Stobbs IP notes that following the European Commission’s proposal of EU Data Protection reform in 2012, the European Parliament and Council finalised negotiations and came to an agreement last week. This reform follows research that 90% of Europeans say they want to have the same data protection rights across the EU. Soon this will be the case.

 

Stobbs IP writes:

The EU Data Protection reform package is aimed at putting an end to the existing patchy rules, and works toward the realisation of a Digital Single Market for the EU. The rules promise to be good for EU citizens and EU businesses. It is felt that citizens will benefit from clear rules fit for the current digital age, and will encourage innovation and opportunities for businesses.

The reform consists of two instruments:

  • The General Data Protection Regulation; aimed at enabling citizens to better control their data, and for there to be less red tape for businesses. For citizens, they will be able to access data more easily, transfer it more easily, know when they have been hacked, and they will have the right ‘to be forgotten’. For businesses, amongst other things, they will have one law and one authority to deal with (saving costs on lawyers!), and the regulation will guarantee that data protection safeguards are built into products and services from the earliest stage of development.
  • The Data Protection Directive; aimed at enabling the criminal justice sector, and encouraging cross-border co-operation between EU members on crime.

Next Steps

These rules will come into force in early 2018. The European Commission promised to work closely with Member States to ensure a uniform application of the new rules. Between 2016 – 2018 they will also aim to educate citizens of their rights, and businesses of their obligations under the new rules.

Stobbs Take-Home

The new regulations, while strong on EU citizens’ personal data, will also be highly beneficial to businesses and will encourage growth in the European economy by removing cross-border barriers and limitations. Sharing data between EU member states will also be very beneficial in policing criminal matters of a cross-border nature in the EU.

We believe that the implications for the IP world will mean:

  • A clearer picture for businesses in how they can treat data across the EU;
  • A better idea for individuals on what they can expect/ do as regards their personal data;
  • Opportunities for IP related crime to be dealt with on a multi-national scale between national law enforcement agencies.

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