The European Data Protection Supervisor Peter Hustinx told SC that EU states need to do better in tackling the widening problem of data breaches but that it wasn't the place for the EU to lecture individual governments.
He also dismissed the idea that it was problem for the public sector only or for one state more than another. “When the incidents are analysed across the EU both public and private sectors feature strongly and apply to all member states.
“The problem has been overlooked until recently but as we enter an increasingly information dependent society the incidents have multiplied. Now, 65% of European citizens are worried about loss of private data – although they don't always behave that way.”
“It's not too late to do something about it but we need both hands on the wheel.” he said. However, Hustinx did not think that governments should intervene too far and that legislation needed to be balanced.
“We should not be too paternalistic but we should raise the stakes for high risk sectors [such as child data] with appropriate penalties.” he said.
Asked why the public often seem to trust their personal data more with the private sector Hustinx said that it was simply down to incentives such as money off vouchers or other monetary inducements.