As marketing becomes ever more sophisticated, personal data; the data by which individuals can be identified becomes increasingly valuable. The European Consumer Commissioner, Meglena Kuneva described personal data as “the new oil of the internet and the currency of the digital world”.

However, current legislation was not designed, and is ill-equipped, to handle the rapid technological developments taking place, such as the explosion of social networking sites, the use of targeted behavioural advertising and the use of more sophisticated flash cookies. This is a matter that the European Commission has recognised and has communicated its plans to reform the EU data protection rules.

With the increase in value of personal data it becomes increasingly important for companies to understand the rules governing data protection and privacy and to ensure they are effectively implemented. This is not simply a matter of complying with arcane laws. It is a necessity for building value, trust, reputation and goodwill.

In an effort to draw attention to the issues, the EU has nominated today, 28 January 2011, as “Data Protection Day 2011”. On this day we look back over some of the major developments in data protection in 2010 and highlight some issues to watch in 2011.

For further information or advice please contact the ebiz team.

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