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Have your say on the draft Data Protection Regulation

Posted on February 8th, 2012 by

Is a fine of up to 2% of annual worldwide turnover too big? Is it possible to report data breaches within 24 hours?

The Ministry of Justice has opened a call for evidence on the European Commission’s draft General Data Protection Regulation. The information obtained from the four-week long evidence gathering exercise will be used to help inform the Government’s negotiating position on the Regulation.

The call for evidence itself is wide-ranging and comments are requested on:

- the potential consequences of the Regulation on the processing of personal data;

- the likely benefits to individuals and the effect on their data protection rights;

- the extent to which the proposal builds “trust in the online environment”; and

- the impact of the proposal on economic growth.

Stressing the need for responses to include “quantifiable costs and benefits” and “real life examples”, the Ministry of Justice appears receptive and keen to hear views on the proposed Regulation.

To make the most of this opportunity, we suggest that you review the draft Regulation in the context of your industry and think about how the rights and obligations it creates will apply to your business. For example, how will an individual’s ‘right the be forgotten’ sit with the way that your sector uses personal data? Will the changes regarding the use of data processors affect the way that you operate? We can of course help you decode the Regulation and consider how it may apply – we also recognise from our own experience working on the Regulation that the challenge for business will be in framing a response which clearly sets out its impact.

Although time is short (there is a four week window) in which to delve through the Regulation and draft an effective response to the call for evidence, the willingness on the part of the Ministry of Justice to engage with stakeholders suggests that it will be worth it. Given the scale of the proposed changes and on the premise that if ‘you don’t ask, you don’t get’, the call for evidence offers interested parties a valuable opportunity to engage with, and help shape the future of data protection both in Europe and, if the current draft Regulation is anything to go by, worldwide!

The call for evidence closes on either 4 March 2012 (according to the Call for Evidence paper itself) or 6 March 2012 (the date provided on the Justice website). Further information, including the call for evidence questionnaire can be found at

European Commission seeks your input on the future of cloud computing

Posted on May 19th, 2011 by

Question: what does the European Commission consider has the potential to:

- generate revenues of c. EUR 35billion in Europe by 2014;

- develop into a major new service industry;

- drastically reduce the price to business of IT;

- cut the cost of government services; and

- save energy?

 Answer: cloud computing.

Looking to harness the power of IT’s economic and environmental superhero, the European Commission has launched a consultation to collect opinions, experiences and requirements related to cloud computing from companies, individuals, academics and public sector bodies.

The consultation forms part of the European Commission’s commitment under the Digital Agenda to develop and deliver economic and social benefit through a strong digital economy. The results of the consultation will inform a European Cloud Computing Strategy set for release by the Commission in 2012. The Strategy will address the legal data protection and privacy framework applicable to the cloud, including international issues and user’s rights; technical and commercial issues such as security, availability and the development of standard form agreements; and the market, with European Commission Vice President for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, stating in January that pilot projects aiming at cloud deployment would be supported.

Against this background the consultation is seeking input on areas including:

- the development of the Data Protection Directive to facilitate cloud computing and the issues encountered under local data protection law;

- the issue of applicable law;

- the rights, responsibilities and liabilities of users and providers;

- the potential for (and content of) model agreements and service levels for cloud services;

- the problems encountered in both the use and provision of cloud services in the EU and elsewhere;

- interoperability; and

- cloud services in the public sector.

The consultation is available at and closes on 31 August.

There is little doubt that the European Commission sees cloud services as playing a significant role in Europe’s digital economy. On the basis that if ‘you don’t ask, you don’t get’, the consultation offers both providers and users a chance to engage with and help shape the legal, technical and economic framework in which cloud services will be offered in the future.