The upcoming European data protection directive could be ineffective in the short term and will place further financial and security burdens upon European businesses.

As exclusively revealed by SC Magazine, public and private sector businesses will soon be hit by mandatory-disclosure legislation in the new version of the Data Protection Directive, the legislation on which the Data Protection Act is based. This will install a ‘mandatory data breach disclosure' law covering every organisation in the public and private sectors.

According to Invictis, the proposed changes to the data laws is likely to take years to come into effect, leaving businesses to wrestle with today's contradictory rulings as well as the costs and inevitable risks associated with a changeover.

Stephen Smith, COO of Invictis, said: “An overhaul of the data protection directive is long overdue and we need to tear down the boundaries and red tape that has prevented European businesses from operating effectively.

“But let's not encumber the private sector with the cost and confusion of how to implement these changes. The legislation will take several years to come into force and will throw up as many problems as it solves at least initially.

“Benchmarking can help illuminate the costs and complexities involved and show up any changes to the risk score of the business; it's a mirror with which to assess the security performance of subsidiaries, partners and even competitors on a pan-European or global basis and will go some way to avoiding the teething troubles associated with implementing new legislation and the associated risks. But ultimately it's up to the bureaucrats to give us actionable legislation that will work on the world stage.”

Viviane Reading, EU justice commissioner and vice president of the European Commission, championed the reform at the Industry Coalition for Data Protection in Brussels on 28th November.

She stated that European businesses must today comply with disparate laws and often conflicting decisions made by data protection authorities in each of the 27 member states. Conversely, any non-European business seeking to operate in the EU also has to abide by 27 different interpretations of the law on data protection.