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The European Parliament recently voted through amended data protection proposals. These new reforms represent the EU’s first major overhaul of data protection legislation since 1995 and will bring with them significant changes to the way personal data can be used.
Once approved by the European Council, the 28 member states will have two years to become fully compliant. For many businesses, this will seem a long way off. It might be tempting to wait to make any changes until the EU legally requires that the reforms be made, but that would be a mistake.
In the wake of the widely-publicised NSA revelations around government snooping, consumers across Europe will likely welcome the greater personal protection and rights proposed by the new EU reforms as a long-overdue step in the right direction. Many businesses, however, will be challenged by the new obligations that are likely to come their way.
The new EU data protection reforms are intended to replace the current patchwork of national laws. Companies will be accountable to a single European supervisory authority rather than 28, enabling simpler, more cost-efficient business in the EU, the economic benefits of which are estimated at €2.3 billion per year.