Vivian Reding: The overhaul of EU rules on Data Protection: making the single market work for business

December 5, 2012

Vivian Reding is Vice President of the European Commission and EU Justice Commissioner. Here is a link to the text of a speech given on 4 December 2012 in which she explains why she thinks we need a new data protection regulation.

It is unlikely that anyone will argue with the idea that a directive made in 1995 is inadequate for the challenges of 2011 now that the Internet, social networking, cloud computing and sheer volume have changed our concept of what data is, and have introduced new problems along with many benefits. We cannot argue either with the idea that any new regulation should be ideally be consistent across the EU and that it should be backed by sanctions consistently applied.

Consistency, however comes at a price, and that price is the acceptance that the EU Commission is entitled to impose a consistent regulation across diverse jurisdictions and cultures and that it has any idea how to make such a thing work. The Commission will say that this is precisely what the EU is for. Many of us will see that as a drawback, in both nationalistic and practical terms. The idea that anything emanating from the Commission will cut red tape – an express ambition behind the regulation and referred to in the speech – is frankly laughable. Read the rest of this entry »


Plenty to do in an ever busier eDiscovery market

April 22, 2010

It is very flattering when people write in to ask if I am all right because they have noted that the number of blog posts is down in a particular week, suggesting as it does that people do not merely read what I write, but look out for it.  It would, no doubt, be a very pleasant life if I could just sit in my office writing carefully-honed articles but, if that was all I did, I would soon run out of things to say. Furthermore, blog posts are not the only written output, and writing is not the only way of meeting my objective of spreading the word about e-Disclosure.

To allay the suspicions of those who may think that I have taken a week off, it is worth quickly summarising what has been going on. It is useful, periodically, to give some idea of the range of activities which promote the subject, because it shows how much activity there is in the market. Read the rest of this entry »


Peer-to-peer networking at the IQPC Corporate Counsel Exchange in Brussels

April 20, 2010

The night before I left for IQPC’s Corporate Counsel Exchange in Brussels, I gave a short talk at an event organised by 7Safe in London. I will write about that separately, but its theme was that we are seeing a greater rate of change in the UK e-Disclosure world than at any time hitherto, thanks to a combination of procedural initiatives and salutary cases. Change is very much in the air in other areas as well – when I went away, the Liberal Democrats were a joke with no hope of a role in government; by the time I came back, they were a joke with a serious prospect of a role in government. The expression “change is in the air” acquired additional resonance when another minority entity thought to be capable of zero impact managed to bring the entire world to a halt. As the current joke has it, it is cash we want from Iceland, not ash. My wife and I came within a hair’s breadth of falling victim to the latter. Mary Ann, sensibly, took it for granted that we would travel by Eurostar and, in her role as my travel department, and in that no-nonsense way which women have, was poised to make the booking. Wait, said I, in my male, have-we-considered-every-option? way, we should check out the flights. Fortunately, anything that BA had to offer was both more expensive and more inconvenient than the train, even before Iceland intervened.

I was busy down to the moment of leaving home, and had not begun to focus on the implications of the volcano. I assumed that the long queues at the St Pancras Eurostar terminal comprised people keen to get away before the Lib Dems took power (if you think that New Labour loves interfering in our lives, wait till you see what inherent contradictions lie in the two words which make up the name “Liberal Democrat”). Uniquely amongst British public transport ventures, Eurostar just works. Uniquely also, the St Pancras terminal combines aesthetic pleasure with practicality – c.f. the Brussels terminal which has been apparently been designed deliberately to be as ugly and inconvenient as possible, inside and out. Our choice of hotel was another example of the triumph of female instinct over the curious male need to weigh every option. It took Mary Ann about ten minutes to light on the Stanhope Hotel, and a further two hours, at my insistence, for us to examine every alternative and read all the reviews before booking – at the Stanhope.

Incidentally, I just loved the notice on the hotel website offering a “10% kickback on conferences”. I am sure that “discount” was the word they were after, but the subconscious message sent out by using “kickback” just yards from the heart of the EU’s Parliament and bureaucratic centre, was perfect. Read the rest of this entry »


IQPC Corporate Counsel Exchange in Brussels 18 – 20 April

April 12, 2010

I am off to Brussels at the weekend for IQPC’s Corporate Counsel Exchange. The format for this conference is rather different from the conventional series of panel discussions and platform speeches – there are plenty of these, but the primary purpose of the event, as its name implies, is for the exchange of ideas rather than merely their promulgation. The speeches and panels serve as the catalyst for business meetings and round-table discussions.

This format seems to be appreciated both by corporate counsel on the look-out for ideas and answers and for those who have software and service solutions to offer. Amongst the latter are Epiq Systems, Trilantic, Kroll OnTrack, Applied Discovery, Clearwell, LexisNexis and Wolters Kluwer, who should between them cover pretty well all the bases.

I am going to it for various reasons, none of which, for a change, is a speaking commitment. This session which interests me most is a case study led by Greg Wildisen and Mike Brown of Epiq Systems and by Vince Neicho of Allen & Overy. The title is Your company has just been raided and an investigation is under way. Have you an effective strategy to focus your resources on only the most relevant documents? Read the rest of this entry »


A short video could win you free tickets and accommodation at CEIC

February 17, 2010

The use of video turns up in these pages either where a supplier has used the medium to educate or to promote a product, or in a slightly embarrassed reference to my own reluctant appearances in front of the camera.

CEIC (Computer and Enterprise Investigations Conference) has come up with an interesting new use for the medium. They are offering free entry and accommodation for CEIC 2010 to the person who makes the best short video explaining why the maker wants to go to CEIC. The competition details are here.

CEIC was in Orlando last year. I was there in my capacity as a member of Guidance Software’s Strategic Advisory Board and thoroughly enjoyed it, despite torrential downpours. This year, the conference is at Summerlin in Nevada, so bad weather is unlikely. Read the rest of this entry »


UK Information Commissioner publishes plain English data protection guide

December 2, 2009

The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has produced a guide in plain English which aims to make it easier for the non-expert to understand what is involved. That is all to the good, but this is not one of these situations where tout comprendre c’est tout pardonner.

I thought you wouldn’t mind a bit of French in the circumstances. Those trying to get data from France (or anywhere else in the EU, but France more than most) for use in US proceedings rarely forgive what they learn about the restrictive nature of EU data protection, even when they understand it – perhaps especially when they understand it. Indeed, the expression “Pardon my French”, used by the English to exculpate themselves after using some vile swear word, might well be helpful to those who have just discovered what those implications are – the language which results is often unsuitable for what used to be called “mixed company”. Read the rest of this entry »


Parallel and cross-border developments in handling electronically stored information

November 24, 2009

The second session at the Thomson Reuters Fifth Annual e-Disclosure Forum in London on 13 November was called Parallel and cross-border developments in handling electronically stored information. I was the moderator, although if Air Miles were the qualification for talking about international subjects, Browning Marean of DLA outstrips even me by a wide margin.

The panel comprised Senior Master Whitaker, Mark Surguy of Pinsent Masons in Birmingham, and Josh Ellis, Chief Information Officer at the Serious Fraud Office. I suspect that Master Whitaker has a wider range of knowledge on international case management matters than any other judge in the world; I opened by saying that, in the last six weeks, I have been in Brussels, Washington, Singapore, and in front of the UK Civil Procedure Rule Committee and the only other person present on all these occasions was Master Whitaker. In addition he is, as Senior Master, the channel through which requests under the Hague Convention are made. Mark Surguy was the only practicing commercial lawyer from the UK at LegalTech in New York this year. Josh Ellis, quite apart from his present role at the SFO, was responsible for international collections at PricewaterhouseCoopers for years and was thus able to bring a practical and hands on dimension to the discussion. Read the rest of this entry »


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