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Backlash against EU data rules

The EU has approved more stringent data regulation, reports the Guardian and others, which will replace the individual countries’ rules.

Essentially the authorities will have more powers and be able to fine companies in breach of privacy rules by up to four per cent of their turnover. The new rules comprise the General Data Protection Regulation, which is about privacy, and the Data Protection Directive, which is about law enforcement.

Further details are on the Guardian link above. Early rumblings from the industry suggest it isn’t universally happy.

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), a technology policy think tank, issued a statement that said:

“History will likely show that Europe’s new data protection regulation was a mistake. While the world is in the process of taking a giant step forward by marshalling the power of big data and the Internet of Things to grow the economy, improve governance, and solve pressing social problems, European policy makers have chosen to take two giant steps backward.

“The new regulation’s intent may have been to give citizens control of their personal data, but its provisions will be onerous in practice—like trying to sail with an anchor overboard. Large, medium-sized, and small businesses, entrepreneurs, civil society groups, and government all will have an unduly hard time using data to start new ventures, expand well-established ones, or enrich European citizens’ lives by discovering solutions to challenges in health care, education, or the environment.

“The new regulation should not be the last word on these issues. European policy makers have until 2018, when the law comes into force, to turn in a new direction. Now is the time to get started working on a new framework that is actually appropriate for a modern data economy.”

Meanwhile Colin Tankard, Managing Director of data security company Digital Pathways in the UK, has warned about the time scale. “Two years may seem a fair amount of time to prepare, but it will pass quickly,” he said. “The time to start preparing is now.”