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FEATURE: Are we heading for a data disaster?

The European Parliament has shown overwhelming support for a reform in EU data protection laws. Victoria Clarke investigates what the proposed changes mean for B2B brands and marketers

On Tuesday 11 March 2014, an overwhelming majority of members of the European Parliament voted in plenary in favour of a new data protection regulation, which if implemented would signal a significant shift in existing legislation. The current 1995 Data Protection Directive, while being drastically out of date now, allows for variations in the way the law is implemented in different EU countries. If the new regulations are adopted, a single law would be enforced across the whole of the EU. Regardless of whether a directive or regulation is finally passed as law (the results of the aforementioned plenary vote would suggest the latter), the reform aims to restore trust with regards to safeguarding the personal data of citizens. It also aims to allow businesses of all sizes in the EU to innovate and stimulate economic growth. The long-awaited reform is essential in order to ensure data legislation remains relevant in the digital age.