This may be a big week for the EU’s long awaited data proteciton reform. The EU’s Justice Ministers are expected to agree a common position on the EU Commission’s proposal for a General Data Protection Regulation. The EU Council has been debating this proposal for the past three-and-a-half years. During that time Moore’s Law (the number of transistors you can fit on a computer chip doubles every two years) has run through two cycles. So computers are four time faster than they were in 2012. Edward Snowden went to Moscow to publicise the activities of the NSA, leading to a furious debate about how Western Governments are monitoring communications. And Silicon Valley has continued to push out products that find ever more innovated ways of processing your personal data. Whilst the EU has slipped ever further behind.
These changes mean that the General Data Protection Regulation originally proposed by the Commission could not stay the same. The EU Council has developed its own proposal which substantially revises the Commission text. The EU Parliament has a proposal of its own. These three Institutions will endeavour to reconcile these different proposals through a mechanism called “The Trialogue”. Representatives of each will meet to thrash out their differences behind closed doors, in an unofficial process which is now being investigated by the EU’s own Ombudsman.
How long this will all take is unclear. The EU Commission wants it done this year. And one EU political party has published a draft agenda that would allow for this. Enactment on this time scale is not impossible. . Luxembourg may be expected to run a highly effective Presidency, following Latvia’s excellent performance. But EU Data Protection law is a complex area. And the various proposals are complex documents, which may be difficult to reconcile. Hence the consensus remains that the Trialogue process will probably take
[twitter-follow screen_name=’wordpressdotcom’]a year, but who knows?