Feeds

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

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

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.