EU considers stricter data breach notification rules

A new consultation investigates how quickly organizations should notify victimes of data breaches

The European Commission is examining whether additional rules are needed on personal data breach notification in the European Union.

Telecoms operators and Internet service providers hold a huge amount of data about their customers, including names, addresses and bank account details. The current ePrivacy Directive requires them to keep this data secure and notify individuals if such sensitive information is lost or stolen. Data breaches must also be reported to the relevant national authority.

However Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes announced on Thursday that she was opening a public consultation to see if more regulation was needed.

"The duty to notify data breaches is an important part of the new E.U. telecoms rules," she said. "But we need consistency across the E.U. so businesses don't have to deal with a complicated range of different national schemes. I want to provide a level playing field, with certainty for consumers and practical solutions for businesses."

In May the Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding suggested that the requirement for data breach notification should be extended to cover online banking, video games, shopping and social media.

"It is important that users are notified if someone has unlawful access to their data. A social network with more than 200 million users in the E.U. must stick to E.U. law, even if it is based in the United States and its data is stored in a so-called cloud," said Reding referring to Facebook.

She also stressed the importance of timely notification. "Seven days is much too long," she said, referring to Sony's delay in reporting a security breach involving 77 million PlayStation Network account holders in April this year.

The current consultation is open until Sept. 9. It is seeking input specifically on security techniques, how quickly organizations should notify victims, the means and content of notifications and what type of breaches meet the threshold for notification.

If the Commission decides to propose new notification rules, it would have to consult the European Network and Information Security Agency, the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party and the European Data Protection Supervisor.

The consultation document is available at:

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags regulationsecurityeuropean commissiondata breachlegislationgovernmentdata protection

More about etworkEUEuropean CommissionFacebookSony

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Jennifer Baker

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts