Negotiators have finalised talks on the proposed European Union (EU) data protection legislation, paving the way to a single EU digital market worth up to €415bn a year.
In June 2015, the European Council of Ministers approved a version of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to replace the 1995 directive.
Today’s meeting between the European Parliament, the European Council and the European Commission (EC) represented the final stages of negotiation, leading to the regulations being put in place by the end of the year.
Luxembourg’s Minister for Justice, Felix Braz,said: “We had the kick-off meeting this morning and we agreed on everything we wanted to agree.”
The update aims to unify data protect across the EU.
Jan Philipp Albrecht, the European Parliament's lead on the data protection regulation, said: “It is a very good sign that Parliament is committed to unifying data protection laws.
"Such data protection unification could open up Europe's digital economy."
EU citizens uneasy about data control
Latvia’s minister for justice, Dzintars Rasnacs, said: “It is important to have provisions for data protection in the digital era. The idea is for people to have greater control over the data pertaining to them. We want to achieve greater security. This will be to the advantage of business, enabling innovative digital services to be developed.”
The Special Eurobarometer 431 journal, published in June 2015, reported that, in a survey of over 27,000 citizens conducted by the Directorate General for Communication, two-thirds of respondents (67%) said they were concerned about not having complete control over the information they provide online. The survey found most people are uncomfortable about internet companies using information about their online activity to tailor advertisements.
EU justice commissioner Věra Jourová, described the data protection revisions as a key reform for the single digital market. “It will be good for business, will reduce costs and won’t close the door on future innovations,” she said.
She said the aim was to create a single set of enforceable rules on data protection, valid across the EU, that would put people in control of their data. Jourová said the rules would offer a one-stop shop, to simplify the life of companies and individuals.
Read more about the proposed European data protection legislation
- More than half of European companies do not know about the legislation planned to unify data protection laws.
- Only half of UK IT decision-makers are aware of the coming EU Data Protection Regulation – compared with 87% in Germany.
- Most cloud providers are not yet prepared to meet the requirements of the EU General Data Protection Regulation.