Data Protection will probably suffer delay


It seems that Brussels will delay their final decision-making on the Data Protection Regulation. This is apparent from recent developments on a high political level. Ecommerce Europe seeks proper legislation to be realised, if possible within the agreed time schedule.

“Better to be good than fast,” is what Mr. Cameron, Prime Minister of England, and Ms Merkel, Federal Chancellor of Germany, had to say about the Privacy Regulation. These government leaders fear that the privacy rules, due to imperfect definitions, will result in enormous costs for the business world. As a result it is extremely dubious whether the Regulation will be finished by April 2014. The deadline is just before the European Parliament elections and a new mandate for the European Commission.

Preferably efficient and fast
As a result of the Privacy Regulation, the same privacy rules will apply throughout Europe. This is important for the internal market that should have been realised by 2015. “Nevertheless, it must be an efficient Regulation,” says Martijn Hos, lobbyist for Ecommerce Europe. “A number of points in the Regulations must be improved further for webshops. For instance, the obligatory appointment of a privacy officer on the basis of a risk-based approach. The right to obtain data should be limited to social network sites.”

5000 records
According to article 35, webshops should appoint a privacy officer if they have five thousand files with personal data. “This would be extremely expensive for the webshops we represent, which are often small. After all, you have this many files in no time at all.” A risk-approach, based on type of data, would be much better.

Decision in December
Ecommerce Europe has been intensely involved in the Regulations for months. “The Regulation covers important matters for webshops,” according to Martijn Hos. “It regulates such subjects as when are you allowed to process personal data and how should you obtain customers’ permission to do so. This is against a background that is supposed to facilitate marketing activities by means of profiling.”

It is up to the Council of Ministers of Justice to decide, at the beginning of December, whether to forge ahead or not.