Data protection New EU rules provide major step forward for consumer protection

The European Parliament today adopted a legislative agreement on the reform of the EU's data protection rules, finalising the new law. After the vote Green MEP and European Parliament draftsperson/rapporteur on the data protection regulation Jan Philipp Albrecht stated:

"Today's vote is the final stage in this landmark reform of the EU's data protection rules. The legislation will create an EU-wide data protection regime for the first time, replacing the outdated patchwork of national data protection rules. This will be a major step forward for consumer protection and competition and ensure Europe has data protection rules that are fit for purpose in the digital age.

"The new rules will give users back the right to decide on their own private data. Businesses that have accessed users' data for a specific purpose would generally not be allowed to transfer the data without the user being asked. Users will have to give clear consent for their data to be used. Crucially, firms contravening these rules will face fines of up to 4% of revenue, which could imply billions of Euro for the major global online corporations.

"The new rules will give businesses legal certainty by creating one common data protection standard across Europe. This implies less bureaucracy and creates a level playing field for all business on the European market. Under the new rules, businesses would also have to appoint a data protection officer if they are handling significant amounts of sensitive data or monitoring the behaviour of many consumers."

Note: The data protection reform includes the data protection regulation, which will replace the EU's 1995 data protection directive, and a directive on data protection for police and justice authorities, which will provide a basis for better cooperation to fight terrorism and crime.