EU feeling pressure to tweak data, privacy legislation

Some European Union member states want the European Commission to ease off certain elements of proposed legislation concerning data protection and privacy.

Just over a year after the European Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding lifted the lid on plans to reform the data protection and privacy laws in the region, Brussels is facing its greatest challenge yet by no other than its own member states.

The Commission may "water down" proposals after a group of EU member states said they were heavily opposed to a number of proposed measures, according to the Financial Times of London. These include measures that could see EU-based firms fined up to 2 percent of a company's global revenue for data breaches.

Due to an intervention by at least nine countries, including the U.K., Germany, Sweden, and Belgium, said some of the proposals could add unnecessarily heavy burdens to businesses at a time when they want their respective and pan-European technology sector to grow.

In the note, "several member states have voiced their disagreement with the level of prescriptiveness of a number of the proposed obligations in the draft Regulation." Additionally, the document notes that member states said they needed "more flexibility regarding data protection rules for the public sector" in order to enable them to apply these rules.

A European Commission spokesperson said the Justice Council, with ministers and members of the European Commission, will meet on Friday to discuss the data regulation. The spokesperson added that they remain confident that both the European Parliament and the Council will "stand firm" and "make a decision that is in the interest of consumers and businesses."

Dutch member of European Parliament Sophie in 't Veld told ZDNet that businesses would ultimately benefit from high standards for data protection. "It will give European industry a competitive edge," she said. "It is short-sighted to think users will always accept not having any control over their data and not having any choice."

"Of course legislation should not be an excessive administrative burden. It is in the interest of both industry and users that the rules are workable in practice. But the standards should be high."

Read more of EU under pressure for new data, privacy law changes; U.S. tech firms breathe sigh of relief on ZDNet.

 

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