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What to look out for in 2013

We take a look at legal issues likely to dominate in 2013 and at the technological growth areas which are likely to throw up data protection problems.

EC Data Protection Package

We can expect to see extensive lobbying and negotiation from member states on the draft EC Data Protection Package. European Commissioner Viviane Reding is hopeful that the package will be finalised in 2014 although observers are sceptical. In the UK, a vote on the proposed legislation is expected to take place between February and April of 2013 to enable negotiation with the European Council. It is virtually certain that there will be at least one more draft issued and there may be more depending on how negotiations proceed. See our review of a recent Taylor Wessing event with key European players for more insight.

EC Data Protection Package

It seems likely that in Europe, legislation around data protection issues will be put on hold until the EC Data Protection Package is firmed up. In Germany, for instance, the passage of a new employment data protection law, in the pipeline since 2009, is becoming increasingly unlikely. EUOn the other hand, some countries are legislating nationally to pre-empt some of the European proposals. In Austria, for example, the Austrian Data Protection Act is likely to be amended to provide for voluntary establishment of data protection supervisors in companies which would, among other things, cancel the need for companies with supervisors to notify the Data Protection Commission of its data processing activities. We are also likely to see movement on cookie laws with the remaining member states yet to implement, coming into line. Of course countries outside the EU will continue to make progress on data protection issues too. In 2012, Singapore enacted its first data protection law (see here for more information) and new legislation from Brazil, Malaysia and the Philippines may well be forthcoming in 2013.

M-commerce

M-commerce – payment by mobile phones and contactless card payments - is likely to grow exponentially in the coming year. The European Commission recently gave approval to the joint venture between Vodafone, EE and Telefonica to set up a company to develop mobile commerce in the UK. In addition to a mobile wallet service, the operators are proposing to launch a data-based mobile advertising network which will give businesses access to over 37 million of their customers. Concepts such as these are likely to create enormous data protection challenges and we can expect to see this issue attract significant attention in 2013.

BYOD

The increase in companies participating in ‘Bring Your Own Device’ schemes is likely to continue in 2013. In Germany, for example, 80% of businesses are expected to have BYOD schemes in place by the end of next year, creating data protection and privacy issues as employees use their personal devices for work purposes. German employment law entitles employee councils to have a say in how their personal data is used which means they are increasingly becoming involved in negotiations with cloud providers.

Facial recognition technology

Social media players using facial recognition technology were under fire from privacy campaigners over the course of 2012 but this is unlikely to act as a deterrent to further development of this technology for commercial and marketing purposes. As the application of facial recognition technology broadens, so the data protection issues are likely to become more complicated which makes this is an area to watch.

Augmented reality technologysat-nav

Augmented reality is the superimposition of computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data onto a real-world environment. Google’s Project Glass is one of a number of projects working on augmented reality headsets. It is expected to release its code to app developers sometime in 2013 and if smartphone and tablet apps have proved a data protection challenge, those challenges will look trifling compared to what is to come. Augmented reality may well be the next big thing, consigning the smartphone to the past. Will the proposed EU data protection package be able to keep up? It remains to be seen.

If you have any questions on this article or would like to propose a subject to be addressed by the Global Data Hub please contact us.

diary
Vinod Bange

      

Debbie Heywood

Debbie Heywood

Andreas Schütz

Andreas Schütz

Paul Voigt

Paul Voigt





Vinod, Debbie, Andreas and Paul look at the data protection issues on the horizon for 2013.

"European Commissioner Viviane Reding is hopeful that the package will be finalised in 2014 although observers are sceptical."