Feeds

UK biz baffled by Reding's planned data protection law rewrite: ICO

'I've forgotten. What does right to be forgotten actually mean?'

Build a business case: developing custom apps

A large number of British businesses are clueless about many of the main provisions detailed in the European Union's proposed data protection reforms, a new report from the Information Commissioner's Office has claimed.

Consultancy firm London Economics - which was commissioned to carry out the research (PDF) on behalf of the ICO - surveyed 506 companies in the UK and found that 87 per cent of them failed to estimate how much money the planned legislative overhaul might cost their biz.

Justice commissioner Viviane Reding tabled her draft data protection bill in January 2012. It is currently being scrutinised by the European Parliament. The British government has been scathing about many of the proposals laid out in the legislative rewrite, which could lead to a single law on information-handling with which every member state will need to comply.

National governments presently have a patchwork approach to EU data protection legislation based on the 18-year-old Data Protection Directive of 1995 and coordinated by many different watchdogs.

Reding wants to change that, but UK government ministers and Information Commissioner Christopher Graham have long argued that many of the provisions in the draft are overly prescriptive and unworkable on a national level.

Graham has previously described Reding's approach to data protection regulation as "anal".

The report found that 40 per cent of Brit companies are struggling to grapple with the 10 main provisions proposed in the draft bill.

It highlighted that a whopping 82 per cent of businesses surveyed in the report were unable to quantify how much they currently spend on data protection. Small firms were particularly baffled about the plans, while larger organisations with over 250 employees that process more than 100,000 records were better equipped to deal with data protection compliance.

"There has been much talk of ‘what is best for business’, but that must be based on valid evidence. This reform is too important for guesswork," said Graham, who was speaking at a conference in Berlin, Germany on Tuesday.

"[This] report is the latest contribution from the ICO to this debate. We’d urge the European Commission to take on board what it says, and to refocus on the importance of developing legislation that delivers real protections for consumers without damaging business or hobbling regulators."

The data watchdog's chief also urged British companies to continue to lobby the EU.

"Businesses and other stakeholders need to constructively engage with the debate about burdens and the importance of privacy rights, while the process can still be influenced," he said.

Reding's data protection regulation - if successfully passed by parliament - isn't expected to come into force until 2015 at the earliest.

In March, the commissioner's bill was savaged by at least nine member states after countries including Britain successfully argued that the proposed directive was too rigid and cumbersome for businesses operating within the 27 members' state bloc. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
True fact: 1 in 4 Brits are now TERRORISTS
YouGov poll reveals terrible truth about the enemy within
Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?
Do Brits risk arrest for watching beheading video nasty? We asked the fuzz
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
NBN Co claims 96 mbps download speeds for FTTN trial
Umina trial also delivers 30 mbps uploads, but exact rig used not revealed
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
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.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?