December 15, 2011

EU Considers Changes to Data Privacy Legislation

By Peter Blenkinsop and Tore T. DeBella

In May 2009, the European Commission launched a public consultation on the European Union legal framework for the protection of personal data. This framework is largely encompassed by the EU Data Protection Directive (Directive 95/46/EC), which was adopted in 1995. The stated objectives of the consultation were threefold: (i) to modernize the EU legal system for the protection of personal data, in particular to meet the challenges resulting from globalization and the use of new technologies; (ii) to strengthen individuals’ rights, and at the same time reduce administrative formalities to ensure a free flow of personal data within the EU and beyond; and (iii) to improve the clarity and coherence of the EU rules for personal data protection and achieve a consistent and effective implementation and application of the fundamental right to the protection of personal data in all areas of the Union’s activities.

Following receipt of public comments and meetings with identified stakeholders, the Commission in November 2010 issued for public comment a high-level blueprint of the changes it was considering to the Data Protection Directive. At that time, the Commission indicated that it expected to issue a legislative proposal by mid-2011. This date was later pushed back to the fall, and then again to early 2012.

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