The European Commission has confirmed that it wants to force large businesses and public sector bodies to employee dedicated data protection officers to ensure the safe handling of information on individuals.
Documents leaked last week show this to be one of the EC's primary suggestions in the forthcoming first draft of the revised Data Protection Directive, and EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding confirmed this was the case at a speech in Brussels.
"I intend to strengthen data protection officers in the public sector, in large companies and in companies doing risky processing. They will be your point of contact. They can also play a useful role in awareness raising campaigns," she said on Wednesday.
"I also want to extend data breach notifications to all sectors. Data controllers will have to report security breach incidents to data protection authorities and to the individuals whose personal information has been compromised."
The enforced creation of dedicated data protection officers has drawn criticism from some data protection lawyers who claim that it will stifle firms' ability to innovate.
Reding added in her speech that she intends to push for businesses to implement privacy-by-design for any new tools, and for citizens to have the right to be 'forgotten' from any online databases.
"The internet has an almost unlimited search and memory capacity. So even tiny scraps of personal information can have a huge impact, even years after they were shared or made public," she said.
"Therefore I want to empower individuals to delete their personal data any time they want, where there are no other legitimate grounds for a controller to keep their data any longer."
However, Reding was tight lipped on whether the EC will push for the Directive to become a Regulation as has been suggested, which would oblige member states to enforce the law directly as outlined by the EC, rather than applying their own interpretation at a national level.
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