SCL Response on Data Protection Call for Evidence

March 9, 2012

Thanks to sterling work from Dr Mark Watts, a Partner at Bristows, and contributions from the attendees at SCL’s recent data protection seminar, SCL has responded to the Call for Evidence issued by the MoJ with a number of pertinent answers to the questions raised.

On 22 February Bristows hosted an SCL Data Protection Update Seminar: ‘Looking Forwards (in-depth look at the proposed Data Protection Regulation) & Looking Back’. Mark Watts, Chair of SCL’s Privacy and Data Protection Group, took the opportunity to canvass the opinions of those attending (about 100 people, mainly SCL members), by holding votes on specific questions concerning the Regulation. Mark has followed the structure of those votes to put together the SCL response which reflects the wide range of views expressed. 

The SCL response can be downloaded from the panel opposite. 

The response includes perceptive comments on the implications for of the new proposals for multinationals and reflects divisions of opinion where voting was split. One back-handed compliment to the new proposals is the suggestion that it is good for lawyers but the comments reveal real concern about that aspect too:

‘Writing wide-ranging, broadly applicable laws that affect almost everything a business does but which can only be interpreted and implemented with the assistance of specialist data protection lawyers is surely not the best way to go. Laws that potentially affect so much of what ordinary business does on a day to day basis should be capable of being understood by “ordinary businessmen”. The Regulation is a long way from this and will keep data protection lawyers in business for years.’ 

Concern is also expressed about the failure to adequately understand the data transfer needs of multinationals and the lack of specific reference to proportionality and de minimis in relation to data breach. 

SCL offers its thanks to Dr Mark Watts for his work in preparing the response.