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Data-sharing restrictions could impact innovation and investment

The lobbying group claims that the EU's proposed reforms will burden businesses.

The European Commission’s proposed data-protection reforms will restrict and burden businesses and threaten innovation, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

In the business lobbying organisation's submission to the Minister of Justice's call for evidence on the proposals, Matthew Fell, director for competitive markets at CBI, argued:

We’re concerned that the EC’s proposed data-protection reforms will put European businesses at a competitive disadvantage in a global market, by placing restrictive controls and high cost-burdens on innovation and investment.

The CBI claims that the reforms are unworkable in their current form and will not deliver on aims to create future-proof data protection rules.

The EC, however, estimates that European businesses will benefit to the tune of £1.9bn from the reforms.

The CBI has also urged the EC to look into the right to data portability, citing practical problems for both consumers and companies.

Fell added:

Many novel business models rely on data-sharing to generate revenue and offer a more individually tailored user experience. Advertising and subscription-based online music-sharing services are a good example, where we’ve recently seen ground-breaking innovation through partnerships with social networking sites.

It’s innovative businesses like these, on- and offline, which will be threatened by restrictive controls on data-sharing proposed by the EC, while the cost of compliance will burden all industries, deter investment and ultimately be passed on to consumers.

To ensure that businesses can remain competitive and support growth, the EC must balance the data-protection rights of individuals with the needs of customers and businesses, argued the CBI.

Fell concluded:

Since innovation is a key driver of economic growth, it’s vital that governments here and in Europe support cutting-edge businesses to continue to innovate, before they get left behind by the rest of the world.