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Iron Mountain response - European commission counter-terror plan

January 2015 by Iron Moutain & PCW

News revealed this morning on Data Protection Day that a new European commission counter-terror plan will require the collection and storage for up to five years of personal data of all passengers flying in and out of Europe has already opened debate on whether the blanket collection of personal data without detailed safeguards is a severe incursion on personal privacy. The plan, which currently only focuses on EU flights, shows how the geopolitical context has changed with this plan blocked by the European parliament’s civil liberties committee nearly two years ago. Whilst the growing terrorism threat and securing borders has been an ongoing concern, at the heart of the EU, the focus has been on protecting people’s data and empowering individuals, however a shift now looks palpable.

In addition, the current political debate surrounding the new EU Data Protection laws has led to many organisations being unprepared for upcoming changes. The proposed legislation is very powerful, and its impact will be felt across the world. Concepts such as consistency of rules and their implementation across borders, the right to be forgotten, and the need for the effective de-identification of personal data to support healthcare and other research, for example, will be closely studied in other geopolitical zones.

However, with so many of the proposals still in a state of flux and new plans being announced, it can be tempting for organisations to wait and see what actually makes the final cut. We believe that this would be a mistake. Strong, effective data protection and the responsible, transparent use and retention of data are the hallmark of an ethical organisation. It is an approach that can inspire customer trust just as much as a data breach can destroy it. The equation is simple: trust builds loyalty and loyalty drives sales. Organisations have much to gain from taking action now before the law obliges them to do so.

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