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From the Brussels office

20 February 12

Updates on EU matters: data protection; cross-border ADR; criminal investigations

Data protection reviewed

On 20 January, the Commission unveiled a proposal for a comprehensive reform of the EU’s 1995 data protection rules. A new directive and regulation to harmonise the data protection laws of the member states is intended to boost consumer protection and confidence in the EU. The new rules strengthen the role of national data protection authorities, and provide for the “right to be forgotten”, which would require companies to delete personal information on request. The proposal will now be considered by the European Parliament and Council.

Cross-border ADR?

On 29 November, the Commission adopted two proposals in the field of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), aimed at consumer issues. The first is for a framework directive on ADR for consumer disputes; the second is for a draft regulation to create an online dispute resolution platform for consumers. The package represents one of the “flagship initiatives” envisaged by the Single Market Act. The proposals are now before the European Parliament and Council for consideration.

Criminal investigations

Plans to introduce a European investigation order in criminal matters are well under way, with the new Danish Presidency having stated that it will continue the “targeted and intensive work” on the matter, which it considers important in the fight against cross-border crime. The draft directive currently being considered would allow member states to carry out investigative measures at the request of another member state, on the basis of mutual recognition. These might include witness interviews, searches, interception of telecommunications, and monitoring of bank accounts.

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