Topic: Data privacy
Who: European Commission
When: March 2013
Law stated as at: 3 April 2013
According to the UK’s Direct Marketing Association, hints have been dropped in the corridors of power in Brussels that due to significant pushback from numbers of influential stakeholders and the tabling of over 3000 amendments by MEPs, there will be slippage in the timetable for introducing long overdue reforms to Europe’s creaking 1995 data protection laws.
An expected vote on amendments to the proposed “Data Protection Regulation” in the leading Justice and Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE), has now been pushed back from April 2013 to late May 2013.
After this and a plenary vote on the LIBE amendments in the European Parliament in late May or early June 2013, the end game supposedly begins, with “trilogue” negotiations between the European Commission, Euro MPs and the EU Council of Ministers to align all views on the final shape of the reforms.
Adoption in 2013 now looks unlikely
It was hoped that this stage would culminate in adoption by the end of 2013, but with the recent delays, some say that a more realistic
sign-off date is mid March 2014.
As it stands now, the DPR does not become law for 2 years after adoption, so a spring 2016 in force date looks on the cards.
This leaves little margin for error. Recently Commissioner Viviane Reding let it be known in a speech entitled “Decision time is now” that she regards it as a top priority to get the DPR onto the statute
books in the lifetime of this European Parliament.
This has greater significance when it is appreciated that the lifetime of the current European Parliament has only just over a year to run.
Steps were taken in late March 2013 to bring the next European Parliament elections forward by 2 weeks to late May 2014 instead of mid June 2014.
So time is short if the present head of steam behind the reforms is not going to be altogether lost in elections and potential changes
also amongst relevant European Commissioners.
Why this matters:
In its current state, many businesses and most marketers, will be more than happy to see the DPR miss its election deadline and the whole EU data privacy reform process derailed for months if not years to come.
ICO would lose its main income stream
In light of its recent pronouncements on the measure, the UK’s own data protection watchdog, the Information Commissioner’s Office
(“ICO”), will also be hardly distraught, particularly as the existing
DPR threatens to abolish notification by data controllers.
By depriving ICO of notification fees, the change will cut off ICO’s main income stream at a time when far stricter controls will increase
its workload. A small matter of a £42.8m funding gap is predicted by MPs.