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EU split threatens movement of data

The free movement of data across national borders is threatened by a split between European Union bodies over how to settle a dispute with the US over data protection law

The new Data Protection Act means companies cannot export personal data to countries that do not have equally stringent data laws, including the US. The European Parliament has proposed that a "safe harbour", where data protection rules are observed, be established in the US to allow UK companies to share data with US business units and partners.

However, the European Commission wants to see tough regulation of the safe harbour by European officials, otherwise it would be like "leaving the fox to guard the chicken coop", one privacy specialist said.

Freddie Dawkins, co-ordinator for the ICX user group, said, "From 1 March, businesses in Europe have to ensure they comply with laws covering personal information on employees. You must make sure you are registered with the Data Protection Authority, and if you are doubtful of your internal processes, consult the ICX Code of Conduct."

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