Talks on ensuring a high level of data protection across the EU Marketers are now complete and draft text was agreed on Wednesday 16th December 2015. Marketers are delighted with the “strong compromise” agreed by Parliament and Council negotiators in their last round of talks.
The draft regulation aims to give individuals control over their private data, while also creating clarity and legal certainty for businesses to spur competition in the digital market. Back in September Angela Merkel appealed to the European parliament to take a business view rather than simply look at the Regulation from a data protection perspective lest the legislation hold back economic growth in Europe. At the same time she described data as the “raw material” of the future and expressed her belief that it is fundamental to the digital single market.
The regulation returns control over citizens’ personal data to citizens. Companies will not be allowed to divulge information that they have received for a particular purpose without the permission of the person concerned.
EU DPA Regulation – 7 Key Changes
- 4% Fines: The Council had called for fines of up to two percent of global turnover, while the Parliament’s version would have increased that to five percent. In apparent compromise, the figure has been set at four percent, which for global companies could amount to millions.
- Data Protection Officers (DPOs): Companies will have to appoint a data protection officer if they process sensitive data on a large scale or collect information on many consumers. These do not have to be internal or full-time.
- Consent: to marketers’ relief, consent will now have to be ‘unambiguous’ rather than the originally proposed ‘explicit’ which provides a more business-friendly approach to the legislation. In essence this means that direct mail and telephone marketing can still be conducted on an opt-out basis. Nonetheless, businesses will be obliged to ensure that consumers will have to give their consent by a clear and affirmative action to the use of their data for a specific purpose.
- Definition of Personal Data – the definition has been expanded in particular by reference to an identification number, location data, online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that person.
- Online identifiers -whether cookies and ISPs are personal data has been the subject of discussion for some months. James Milligan of the DMA has expressed the view that a compromise has been reached “Whether or not online identifiers such as cookies fall into the definition of ‘personal data’ will depend on where they are placed in the online ecosystem. For example, a cookie placed by my internet service provider will be classified as personal data as it could identify me, whereas a cookie placed by an advertiser lower down the online ecosystem and cannot be linked to my email address or anything else which could identify me, is unlikely to be considered as personal data. This represents a sensible compromise as it was feared that all online identifiers would be considered as personal data. This separation means non-identifiable, ‘blind’ data can be more widely used than identifiable personal data.”
- Profiling – Profiling has now been included under the term ‘automated decision making’. Individuals have the right not to be subject to the results of automated decision making, so they can opt out of profiling. It will be necessary to implement tick-boxes or similar mechanisms to secure the data subject’s positive indication of consent to specific processing activities related to Profiling.
- Parental consent – Member states could not agree to set a 13-year age limit for parental consent for children to use social media such as Facebook or Instagram. Instead, member states will now be free to set their own limits between 13 and 16 years.
The provisional agreements on the package will be put to a confirmation vote in the Civil Liberties Committee today (Thursday 17 December) at 9.30 in Strasbourg.
If the deal is approved in committee it will then be put to a vote by Parliament as whole in the new year, after which member states will have two years to transpose the provisions of the directive into their national laws. The regulation, which will apply directly in all member states, will also take effect after two years.
Written by Michelle Evans, Compliance Director at Data Compliant Ltd.
If you would like further advice on how the EU Regulation will affect your business, just call Michelle or Victoria on 01787 277742 or email email@example.com