ICC comments on EU Directive 95/46/EC

  • 11 November 2016

Comminication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions.

A comprehensive approach on personal data protection in the European Union


Our comments go to both the substantive recommendations of the Commission Communication as well as to the illustrative examples used. The comments related to illustrative examples are provided to add further context to issues that are important to consider as the Commission contemplates revisions to the Directive that may impact those examples in deployment. We also believe that this Commission Communication helps shape the context of the policy debate going forward and wanted to ensure that it was as reflective as possible of both the concerns and potential benefits related to new applications of technology and emerging business models.

The process related to the review of Directive 95/46/EC is critically important in today’s world of national, regional and global information flows. The Directive and its national implementations form the basis for exchanges of personal data both within the EU region and globally. We thank the Commission for the opportunity to provide these responsive comments and look forward to working constructively with the Commission and the broader stakeholder community in this process.

The ICC has long argued that extraterritorial application of laws frequently subjects companies to conflicting or overlapping legal requirements, fosters unpredictability, increases the risks involved in commercial activities, exposes companies to overly burdensome litigation in foreign jurisdictions, and inflates legal and other transaction costs. The Directive has always been viewed as applying to personal data relating to EU citizens within the EU and where transferred. We believe that the above clause is referring to that concept. Some may misinterpret the language to suggest a wider impact on national laws outside of the EU. While we are aware that the EU has always welcomed countries to develop legislative frameworks consistent with the Directive there has never been an intention of imposing such requirements, except as to EU data. Therefore in the upcoming legislative review, we would suggest that any provisions within this context are drafted with more bounded statements of the objective to ensure that the intent is correctly understood and reflect ICC’s caution against extraterritoriality.