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Ministers promise to protect UK economy against damaging EU data rules

23 Oct 2012 6:13 BST Back
Ministers promise to protect UK economy against damaging EU data rules
DMA News

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Ministers today (23 October) promised to work with the advertising industry to protect the UK economy against potentially damaging new EU data rules.

In a ministerial roundtable meeting Justice Minister Helen Grant MP and Culture Minister Ed Vaizey MP acknowledged the potential dangers of draft EU data protection regulations to the UK economy that also fall short of the EU’s stated aim of enhancing protection of individuals’ data privacy rights. They agreed to engage with industry representatives to ensure that any rule changes work for both consumers and business.

The roundtable was called by organisations representing businesses that use data for targeted marketing and sales purposes to register their concerns with ministers about the EU’s draft Data Protection Regulation, which will replace the existing Data Protection Directive.

The organisations present, including the Direct Marketing Association, the Advertising Association, the Internet Advertising Bureau, the IPA and ISBA, shared their agreement for the need for effective new data laws fit for the digital age. However, they cited proposed legislative changes including requiring explicit consent for the processing of most data, redefining personal information to include cookies and IP addresses, and introducing a new ‘right to be forgotten’ as being a threat to the viability of a data-driven internet economy.

Evidence presented at the roundtable included research published by the DMA in August, which estimated that the draft Regulation in its current form could cost UK businesses an estimated £47 billion in lost sales and additional regulatory costs.

Justice Minister Helen Grant said:

“As technology advances, data protection rules must keep up but European legislators must balance these new rules against the risk of undermining UK businesses in the process. Governments, regulators and industry should be co-operating on proportionate rules to reassure and protect consumers.”

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said:

“Britain’s creative industries and the strength of its online economy are the envy of Europe. This Regulation puts at risk the innovation which drives online business and creative content and it’s particularly important for the UK that we address this. We must find a way to protect consumers that doesn’t undermine some of our most valuable sectors.”

Chairman of the Direct Marketing Association, Scott Logie, who chaired the roundtable, said:

“While the UK remains mired in a protracted recession, the creative industries are among the few that are performing strongly, with direct marketing in particular making an outstanding contribution to the UK economy.

“We fully appreciate the need for data protection rules to be in place to build consumer trust in sharing their information with companies, but getting this balance wrong will have terrible financial consequences to UK plc.”

Tristan Garrick, Head of PR & Content Tel. 020 7291 3315 /

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