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European Data Reform Causing Problems Worldwide

Efforts by European regulators to control how data is kept secure and private could end up impacting multinational corporations. At the end of January, the European Commission released a proposal for updating the data protection laws that were drafted in 1995.

The call for reform has been sparked by the evolution of technology and globalization, and those factors' impact on how data is gathered, processed, stored and used. Under the proposal, the European Union would adopt a single set of rules for data protection rather than using the current fragmented enforcement system. The commission said that by doing away with "unnecessary administrative requirements" alone, the reforms would save businesses approximately €2.3 billion - or USD$3.06 billion - annually.

Organizations would have just one national data protection authority to answer to, and the proposal also seeks to give individuals increased access to - and control over - their personal data.

Government Information Security reports that this reform - set to be implemented by the end of 2014 - would also create challenges for multinationals.

"Organizations would be required to conduct data protection impact assessments to ensure their software applications comply with the regulation," the source explains. "Also, organizations must bake security into the design of their applications from the start."