The Commons Justice Committee has concluded that the proposed new European data laws are confusing, and has stated that the European Commission needs to ‘go back to the drawing board’ with regard to the proposals. The current proposal is for both a directive and a regulation to be imposed onto UK law; the Committee is adamant that such a move will only cause confusion for companies that need to comply with data and data protection laws, and is unhappy that the new proposals are not simple to understand. It did, however, agree that the harmonisation of data laws across the EU is essential.
Back to the Drawing Board
Committee Chairman Sir Alan Beith explained:
“We believe that the Commission needs to go back to the drawing board and devise a regime which is much less prescriptive.”
There is concern, he added, that the proposals were too rigid and did not allow for differences in the many varied organisations that would be party to the directive. The laws regarding data protection are already somewhat confusing, with many people believing that certain rights have been implemented when, in fact, they have not. A new set of regulations needs to easier to understand.
EC Rejects Concerns
The European Commission has, however, rejected the committees concerns. A spokesman said:
“The regulation, for the private sector, gives companies much needed legal certainty, and saves costs (up to €2.3 billion per year). The directive gives law enforcement authorities the needed flexibility, as we are talking about internal security. The regulation does not need implementation, but will be directly applicable, and therefore it is hard to see where confusion could arise.”
It remains to be seen whether an acceptable compromise can be met, but what is certain is that there is a definite need for tidying up the data laws in the EU.