Big Changes Coming in EU Privacy Law



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Robinson Bradshaw Publication
Feb. 2, 2012

The European Union is about to make major changes in its privacy law that will have a significant impact on U.S. companies that do even modest amounts of business in Europe. On January 25, 2011, the European Commission (the EU’s executive branch) released a long-awaited Draft Regulation on the Protection of Individuals with Regard to the Processing of Personal Data and on the Free Movement of Such Data. While it will likely be a year or more before a final Regulation takes effect, and there will almost certainly be amendments along the way, American companies should start paying attention now, since they may have to change the way that they do business in Europe. We at Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson, P.A. are doing our own detailed analysis of the Regulation, which we will be distributing soon in the next edition of our IP Newsletter. Here are some of the key issues we are examining:

These are just a few of the more important features of the 96-page, 91-Article Regulation. Elsewhere, it will create other new rights and responsibilities and reaffirm and/or strengthen many provisions of existing law, including the current restrictions on transferring data outside of the EU. The draft must now be reviewed by several Directorates of the EU Commission before being submitted for review and approval by the Parliament and Council. But while full implementation will take some time—more than a year in most estimates—the changes are so dramatic and far-reaching that U.S. companies doing business in Europe will require at least that much lead time to plan their compliance.

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