Peter Hustinx, the man who carries the title of European Data Protection Supervisor, has called for the European Commission (EC) to look at the current legislation which governs the handling of data across the continent and update any of the rulings which have become irrelevant over time.
Mr Hustinx said that with a massive expansion in the amount of private data being handled by businesses and public sector organisations, it is necessary to review laws in this field and make sure that average people are not put at risk because the existing laws do not offer adequate protection.
Mr Hustinx was keen to point out that data protection has an effect on day to day life for hundreds of millions of Europeans, while also being influential on economic fluctuations, national security and the level of trust which ruling bodies are able to command.
It is recognised that data protection is a significant area requiring sustained attention from the international community. Mr Hustinx argues that no plan for the future can be considered too ambitious in the face of such responsibilities relating to data.
Experts believe that the best way to make sure that EU nations are able to protect private data and enforce the relevant legislation, is to make sure that there is greater unity in the international rules. This would include the required reporting of data loss and security breach incidents, as well as the integration of privacy into the very heart of modern storage solutions.
Neutrality and the cooperation of law enforcement and law makers must also be sought in this battle to protect data, according to Mr Hustinx.
The EC recently published a strategy document outlining the contemporary data protection legislation and calling on experts in the field and those with a vested interest to respond.
Key to the EC’s recommendations is the idea that all EU citizens should have the right to call for personal data to be deleted once it has served its use. The UK is implicated in this whole discussion as the EC is unhappy with its current lack of effort to comply with EU rulings which cover privacy of communication by electronic means.