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InfoLawUpdate - Half of UK businesses unaware of the reform of data protection laws

Burnetts' information law solicitor Natalie Ruane discusses how half of UK businesses are unaware there is a major overhaul of EU data protection laws currently taking place.

A survey, published on 28 April 2014, stated that UK companies are more likely to be ignorant of the General Data Protection Regulation than their counterparts in Germany. Although 87% of businesses know that there is a draft data protection regulation being processed through the European parliament only 10% of UK businesses say they fully understand what measures will need to be taken in order to comply with the new laws once they have been agreed.

The EU General Data Protection Regulation was first published in January 2012 and has been highly controversial and sparked widespread debate amongst industry groups and EU law makers. In March 2014 the European Parliament approved a draft version of the regulation. The rules, if introduced, will prompt changes to national EU data protection laws. Some of the changes include;

  • The need for businesses to obtain consent from an individual in order to process their personal data;
  • Updating the rules on the transferring of personal data;
  • A new obligation for businesses to notify both regulators and members of the public about data breaches that they experience;
  • A ‘one-stop shop’ to allow businesses operating across the EU to engage with a single data protection authority;
  • Fines of up to 5% of annual global turnover.

The EU’s Council of Ministers (in addition to the European Parliament) must approve the new regulation with an expected agreement to be reached by 2015.

The survey also suggested that many businesses in the UK would face ‘significant challenges’ in complying with the new regulation. One of the main challenges facing businesses will be the restricted resources of most businesses when dealing with the new regulation.

About the author

Natalie Ruane profile photo

Natalie Ruane

Natalie is a Partner and leads the Employment Law & HR team and specialises in education.

Published: Thursday 5th June 2014
Categorised: Information Law

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