Changes to Europe's Data Privacy Directive will lead to cut costs

September 26, 2012

Citizens of the European Union will soon be protected under new laws that guard against cybercrime and provide more data security, and as new reports show, will cut costs.

According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek, the proposal that the European Commission recently presented to change the union's Data Protection Directive laws is set to save the EU up to 2.3 billion euros, or $3 billion. Many support these changes because they promise to take information security more seriously among agencies as well as individual people.

Updated law
The new initiative will revise the 17-year-old laws into a one-step system so that companies only have to do business based on "just one law," meaning every business only has to go through one regulator that will become the contact person for all data protection issues, the source reported. The EU Justice Commissioner, Viviane Reding, said in a prepared speech in Dublin, Ireland, that in the long run, companies can save 130 million euros every year because company owners no longer have to confer with someone every time they process new information into their system, according to the source.

Although the new privacy laws will simplify the process, it does call for stricter regulation. The organizations that mishandle or lose information will be faced with a two percent fine based on their yearly global sales.

Facebook feature breaches privacy laws
Ireland has become a role model for the EU in how seriously it is taking the new laws to protect its citizens from privacy issues, said Reding. It recently made headlines because of its efforts.

Ireland publicly complained about Facebook's facial recognition technology used to automate tagging in photographs, which breaches privacy rights.The Irish Data Commissioner sent an inquiry to the company to eliminate the feature from European citizens' profiles, and Facebook complied with the request, agreeing to take care of the problem by October 15, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported. If Facebook does decide to keep the feature, it must first have users' consent turning it on.

The European Commission became aware of this situation after an ongoing audit to the compliance requirements of privacy laws.

According to the EU Commission's website, 70 percent of Europeans said they were worried that their personal information will be misused if it is posted online, which explains why the 27 nations that make up the EU are taking drastic measures for data loss prevention.

-McAfee Cloud Security