The European Commission (EC) is set to unveil the first draft of its long-awaited revision to the Data Protection Directive on Wednesday, with the document expected to include several drastic overhauls to the existing law.
The changes set to be put forward are likely to have a huge impact on businesses across the UK and European Union (EU).
The most notable change will see the document evolve from a Directive to a Regulation. This will make the law a single piece of legislation that all member states must enforce equally, rather than a series of guidelines that are open to interpretation.
Announcing this change to the law European Union (EU) justice commissioner Viviane Reding said creating a single law for the whole of the EC would prove beneficial to business operating in the region.
"Instead of a patchwork of 27 different rules in 27 countries, there will be one law that will apply to all Member States and to all companies which are offering their goods and services to consumers in the EU - even if their servers are based outside the EU," she said.
"It will do away with the fragmentation that will save businesses around €2.3bn per year. The new regulation will remove barriers to market entry - a factor of particular importance to small and medium-sized enterprises."
Furthermore, in line with a draft of the document leaked in November, the EC is expected to introduce several new aspects designed to enforce higher standards of data control, including a mandatory 24-hour breach disclosure notification period.
There will also be the need for firms with more than 250 employees to have dedicated data protection officers (DPOs) who will be responsible for ensuring their firm adheres to data laws, while fines as high of five per cent of turnover for breaches have also been suggested.
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