At a hearing organized by the European People’s Party on March 31, EU Commissioner Reding lifted the veil on some of the business friendly measures the European Commission intends to propose in the revision of the Data Protection Directive. While remaining vague on how many of these measures will be achieved, Ms. Reding highlighted five priorities:
1. The fragmented regulatory field must become more harmonised.
2. Lack of consumer trust about how their data is used will need to be addressed.
3. The applicable law rules on data protection must be revised to ensure a “one-stop-shop” for companies active across multiple EU Member States. Scenarios in which the same company is subject to a variety of different data protection laws must be avoided.
4. The international transfer of data rules must be streamlined. Diverse approaches to the use of Standard Contract Clauses must be avoided. The Commission will propose to have Binding Corporate Rules (“BCRs”) formally recognized as a transfer mechanism and adopted by mutual recognition. Moreover relaxed rules for transfers within groups of businesses will be considered.
5. The Commission will support cutting more of the red tape. The general notification requirement would be replaced by a notification regime targeting only sensitive data processing operations.
The Commission is expected to adopt its proposal this summer. The proposal will then be discussed and amended by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers (representing the EU Member State governments). Final adoption is not expected before 2013.