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EU data protection laws criticised

Posted by: Laurence Simons 04/11/13

In-house lawyers have been dizzied recently by an array of new proposals on data protection, which - in the febrile environment fostered by concern over government surveillance and big data analysis - are likely to cause ripples well beyond the IT and tech industries.

The EU has mooted a number of rules intended to strengthen data protection for European citizens and prevent any abuses or accidental losses from companies.

However, in a new development, the potential regulations have been attacked for containing a number of loopholes that could render them effectively toothless, reports BBC News.

French consumer group La Quadrature du Net was disappointed with the draft law, with spokesman Jeremie Zimmermann suggesting vague wording such as "legitimate interest" could make it easy for businesses to circumvent the rules.

Furthermore, he called for further laws on so-called data profiling, which he feels has an unwarranted impact on the lives of ordinary citizens.

Leaving the frightening prospect of a world entirely controlled by cyber-beings bent on the destruction of the human race behind (at least for now), it is clear lawyers will need to take action to ensure their company complies with the rules, even if they do need to be further tightened.

Bridget Treacy, partner and head of UK privacy and cyber-security at law firm Hunton & Williams, told the news provider: "One of the requirements of the legislation is that companies only collect the minimum amount of data that they require for a specific purpose. Firms are going to have to be much clearer about what data they are collecting and why."

"It means that they will not be able to hold on to data as a bit of a comfort blanket," she added, disappointing those adorable businesses that can't get to sleep without their favourite unit of information in the bed with them.