The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has welcomed the
recent proposals put forward by the European Commission for a new
EU data protection system to be created, in order to meet the needs
of the increasingly advanced digital age (Please see our
previous e-update). There have been calls for greater
protection of the privacy of online users and increased controls
for individuals over their personal data.
The Information Commissioner ("Commissioner") has
expressed his approval of a number of features of the new data
protection proposals. This includes the strengthened law on user
consent, reinforcing the right to object by moving the onus on to
the data controller to show sufficient reasons for retaining the
data in question, as well as the introduction of a compulsory data
breach notification duty. The Commissioner also indicated support
of the plans to offer incentives to those who comply with the
regime and giving Data Protection authorities greater investigative
There are other aspects of the proposals which the Commissioner
thinks need further consideration. In particular, the extension of
the scope of data protection obligations to cover any processing
directed at users resident in the EU without demonstrating how the
Regulation will be enforced out with the EU requires some
attention. In addition, the Commissioner believes that the
restriction placed on public authorities to process personal data,
where this can only benefit individual citizens, warrants further
The Commissioner has also considered the new Directive proposed
by the European Commission which relates to the processing of
personal data by law enforcement authorities. He has expressed
disappointment that, in such an important area concerning the
processing or personal data, the ICO's proposals do not go far
enough to safeguard individuals.
Following this initial response from the Commissioner, to the
European Commission's proposals, it is expected that further
detailed consideration will follow, as well as a contribution to
the Article 29 Working Party's examination of the proposals in
the near future.
The material contained in this article is of the nature of
general comment only and does not give advice on any particular
matter. Recipients should not act on the basis of the information
in this e-update without taking appropriate professional advice
upon their own particular circumstances.
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