Business voices concerns over proposed EU data protection rules

The draft Data Protection Regulation, which was launched today by European Commissioner Viviane Reding, represents a potentially radical shake-up of Europe's existing data-protection regimes. The draft legislation aims to give consumers "full control" over their own data, whilst also harmonizing the rules applied in each of the 27 EU Member States.

Commenting on the publication of the draft Directive, Stephen Pattison, UK CEO of ICC said: "Fragmented data-protection rules create real issues for businesses operating within the EU. The Commission's attempt to bring greater coherence in this area is certainly welcome. But harmonization can't be seen as a prize in itself?there's absolutely no value in having common rules which aren't workable."

Mr Pattison added: "Some of the proposed rules?such as the "right to be forgotten"?raise immediate concerns about compliance costs; but more fundamentally we need to understand how the legislation might impact on the development and deployment of new technologies and business models.

"Data is increasingly used to allow business to deliver new and improved services to their customers. In protecting individual privacy, we must be careful not to undermine what is now a key driver of competition, growth and innovation. It's not clear that the Commission's proposals strike the right balance".  

The business organisation also drew attention to the importance of facilitating international standards for the protection of personal data.

"It's important to remember that fragmentation is not just an intra-EU issue. Businesses operating globally are often subject conflicting legal rules on the protection of personal data. We'd like to see the EU working to facilitate the development of common global standards and principles, rather than going it alone in the hope others might follow".

Notes to editors:

1.  The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is the largest, most representative business organisation in the world. As a global organisation, we work to further international trade by promoting open markets, sensible regulation and the rule of law. Members in the UK include the majority of FTSE-100 companies, many smaller firms, law firms and business associations.

2.  For media enquiries, please contact Andrew Wilson on: +44 (0)20 7838 7458 or +44 (0)7860 560 330.