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The EU is criticised for ‘On The Buses’ style data protection regulation

Filed under: Information Risk and Security — Jonathan on December 12, 2011

All businesses working within the EU will need to recruit data privacy officers following the passing of European data protection legislation. This has led to an outcry from businesses that view this old-school regulation with a ‘man inside’ as restrictive and counterproductive.

This latest EU stipulation comes at a time when there is growing concern over cyber security and the protection of personal details held within businesses. The growth of information security jobs has been reported to be on the increase as a result.

However, the data privacy officer has been likened to the character of ‘Blakey’ epitomised in the classic seventies comedy called ‘On The Buses’. A partner at the law firm Field Fisher Waterhouse, Stewart Room commented:

“His role was to make sure all highway regulations were enforced on the bus and he was the epitome of crazy trade unionism; he represented the jobsworthyness of the 1970s and Europe is imposing that archaic process on businesses. Businesses are not required to have a health and safety officer but they appoint one, or are not required to have a disability discrimination officer but they can employ one, but in privacy we are going back to the 1970s idea of how businesses should be regulated with a man inside.”

There has been great criticism over many of the data protection regulations enforced over the years as many are ‘impossible to comply with’ and Room fears this new job role will ‘stifle growth, innovation and business activity.’
However, other firms are welcoming the measures viewing the role of data protection officer as a valuable and cost saving to businesses and a valid element in risk management recruitment.

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