Feeds

Europe may mandate data breach notification

Dear Sir, you personal data has been made public...

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

The European Commission has published proposals for a law change that would force telecoms firms to notify regulators and customers of all breaches of their data security.

A similar law in California has resulted in a stream of data breaches being made public.

In a consultation on changes to the EU framework on telecoms regulation, the EC proposes that all providers of "electronic communications networks or services" be forced to notify customers and regulators of any breaches of security that would result in their personal data being made available to others.

The current EU Directive only instructs network providers to notify customers of security risks. It does not cover security breaches.

The current law in the UK follows the Directive closely via the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations of 2003.

"Where...there remains a significant risk to the security of the public electronic communications service, the service provider shall inform the subscribers concerned of (a) the nature of that risk; (b) any appropriate measures that the subscriber may take to safeguard against that risk, and (c) the likely costs to the subscriber involved in the taking of such measures," says the Act.

The consultation under which the new proposals are made runs until 27 October. If the Directive is changed as planned it could have serious effects on companies operating the networks covered.

In California and the 33 US states which have since copied its groundbreaking notification laws, reports of security breaches have rocketed in number. Where companies may previously have not informed regulators and customers that a breach had taken place, the news of each breach now reaches vast audiences.

A series of laptop thefts and losses from government and private bodies have exposed the data of millions of people to potential loss and misuse in the US. Some of that information may never have come to light without the notification law.

"A requirement to notify security breaches would create an incentive for providers to invest in security but without micro-managing their security policies," says the working document accompanying the review process.

"The proposed changes would require providers of electronic communications networks and services to notify the [regulator] of any breach of security that led to the loss of personal data and/or to interruptions in the continuity of service supply."

"The regulator would have the possibility to inform the public if they considered that it was in the public interest," said the document. Service providers would also have to "notify their customers of any breach of security leading to the loss, modification or destruction of, or unauthorised access to, personal customer data," it said.

The consultation was published on 28 June. OUT-LAW asked the UK's Office of the Information Commissioner yesterday if it plans to recommend a change to UK law that would apply the Californian model here. A spokesman responded: "We are not advocating any such change."

See: The working document (37 page/193KB PDF)

Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle
Red-hatted mascot, red-colored logo, red-stained finance books
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.