european parliament

The European Parliament has approved a new set of data protection rules that will aim to give citizens back control of their personal data.

Approved today in Brussels, the new rules will also set out to create a high, uniform level of data protection as well as setting minimum standards on the use of data for policing and judicial purposes.

Parliament’s approval – the result of more than four years of work to overhaul the EU’s data protection rules – will replace the current data protection directive established in 1995, when the Internet was still in its infancy.

Jan Philipp Albrecht, who steered the legislation through Parliament, said in a statement: “The general data protection regulation makes a high, uniform level of data protection throughout the EU a reality. This is a great success for the European Parliament and a fierce European ‘yes’ to strong consumer rights and competition in the digital age.

“Citizens will be able to decide for themselves which personal information they want to share,” he concluded.

The new regulation is due to be enforced within 20 days of publication in the EU Official Journal and all provisions will be directly applicable in all member states two years following this date.

A ‘timely’ decision

Andrew Dyson, partner and co-chair of DLA Piper’s international privacy and data protection practice, commented on the new General Data Protection Regulation: “Individuals will have now new rights to control how organisations use their data. They will have enhanced entitlement to know more about where and how their personal data files are being used and the ability to block or erase certain types of processing.”

Dyson continued to say that he expected to see innovation in the way privacy policies are presented to consumers, noting that those organisations who get this right would quickly go on to build trust with the consumer as well as ensuring that they comply with the new regime.

“Companies will need to invest in enhanced systems and processes to accommodate these new rights and have robust governance in place to manage compliance effectively. This is especially the case when looking at technologies involving big data analytics, cloud or the internet of things, which rely on the free flow of data to deliver cost savings, deepen customer relationships and drive innovation,” concluded Dyson.

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