You may recall the fuss that the British PM David Cameron made about the appointment of the President Elect of the EU Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.  Anyway, he got the job.

As the President of the EU he gets to appoint his team and he appointed Günther Oettinger as Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society.  On the 10th September 2014 Mr Juncker wrote a letter to Mr Oettinger with the heading ‘Mission Letter‘.

This letter is 7 pages and contains this paragraph:

“Supporting the Vice-President for the Digital Single Market and the Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality in finalising the negotiations on an ambitious Data Protection Regulation in 2015. On the basis of the outcome of this legislative process, you should prepare a reform of the e-Privacy Directive, liaising closely with the Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, with the support of the Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality.”

Mr Oettinger has been grilled by MEPs on his ideas and plans for his mission and that is reported here,

So it appears that the new president wants the Data Protection Regulation passed into law in 2015.

This has big implications, for example, the financial penalties for the loss of data under the UK Data Protection Act 1998 are capped at £500,000.  A record of fines is maintained by the ICO.   The proposals under the EU Data Protection Regulation are much more punitive with fines calculated as a percentage of global revenues.  I am not sure how that works for government who if you read the list of fines maintained by the ICO are big culprits.

This looks set to rumble on for now.