NEWS1 November 2012

EU data collection proposal too ‘prescriptive’ claims UK MPs

Europe Government

UK— The EU must ‘go back to the drawing board’ when updating its data protection laws, according to a report by the British Parliament’s Justice Select Committee, which says that the proposed updates to the regulations are ‘too prescriptive’.

The MPs were responding to a request from Parliament’s European Scrutiny Committee for its opinion on draft European Commission regulatory plans to give EU citizens new data protection.

In response to the request, Sir Alan Beith, chairman of the Justice Committee said: “The current data protection laws for general and commercial purposes need to be updated, as they do not account for the digital world. However, we agree with the Information Commissioner’s assessment that the system set out in the draft regulation ‘cannot work’ and is ‘a regime which no-one will pay for’. Therefore, we believe that the Commission needs to go back to the drawing board and devise a regime which is much less prescriptive.”

The Justice Committee added it “welcomes” the potential benefits that an updated law would bring, such as strengthened rights for individuals, and said that commercially the benefits would accrue through the “effective harmonisation of laws”.

Beith warned: “Currently a firm would have to deal with 27 separate sets of domestic legislation and may be put off by the potential legal costs of complying with each. While multinationals can take on this burden, small firms cannot.”