Data Protection Regulation Passes Key Milestone

By: Richard Beaumont | Tuesday, October 22, 2013 | Tagged: Data Protection Regulation | Leave Comment

Proposals for a new EU wide Data Protection Regulation took a step closer last night as the package passed a key vote in the European Parliament.

The LIBE justice committee voted to approve a text for the regulation (PDF) following some 20 months of lobbying and negotiation.  During that time over 3,000 amendments were submitted – a clear record in EU history, and an indication of how important this legislation will be.

However there is still a long way to go before this becomes law.  One agreement that was reached last night is that the parliament will now enter what is known as ‘trialogue’ negotiations with the European Commission and the Council of Ministers (direct representatives of national governments).  This is widely perceived as a ‘fast track’ to agreement of a final wording of the legislation.

The plan is that this wording would go to a final vote in April 2014, just one month before the end of the current parliament.

Despite assertions from MEPs that much of the heavy lobbying by outside interests, particularly US tech companies, has fallen on deaf ears, privacy advocates have raised concerns over potential loopholes in the regulation.

In particular, profiling activity, based on automated processing but not actually using directly identifiable personal data, may be exempted from the need for explicit consent and can instead rely on ‘legitimate business interests’

A press release (PDF) with further information and a Q&A section was published by the LIBE committee this morning.

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