How the EU Privacy Debate Effects Your Access to Data

This week, the European union continued to kick the can in the electronic privacy debate. The civil liberties committee of European Parliament, postponed a decision on draft legislation regarding electronic privacy until the end of May at the earliest.

The European Union’s original data privacy laws date to 1995, but do not address many of the privacy considerations in today’s electronic age.The current effort is aimed at establishing a uniform set of privacy regulations across the 27 member states. Proponents of the legislation estimate that uniform regulations could save industry $3 billion (2.3 Billion Euros).

While it is agreed that huge savings could be gained, the current debate centers on how the regulations would apply to public services in member states. Germany, arguably Europe’s strongest economy, contends that member states should retain the right to determine privacy laws for their own public services.

For big data oriented businesses and international retailers, this debate is particularly important. While the potential savings from a single set of regulations could be huge, new rules would also limit access to information currently available in member states. Further, should Germany and other member states prevail in removing public services from the legislation business must quickly assess how a potentially new set of country by country regulations could impact their operations.

We at GDC follow these developments closely and will post on this topic accordingly. This is one way we remove the complexity in accessing international reference data. Privacy restrictions drive what we can offer our customers. In many cases we can enrich data, for example a retailer captures name, address, email, phone in a transaction and we append the birthday, gender, and a tax ID number. However, based on country-specific privacy laws we may only be able to verify/standardize the data and not provide these insightful new data elements.