ENISA: Data Breach Notifications in Europe - new EU Agency Report

The EU's 'cyber security' Agency ENISA, (the European Network and Information Security Agency) has today issued a report on Data Breach Notifications. The EU data breach notification (DBN) requirement for the electronic communications sector in the ePrivacy Directive (2002/58/EC) is vital to increase in the long term the level of data security in Europe. The Agency has reviewed the current situation and identified the key concerns of both the telecom operators and the Data Protection Authorities (DPA)s in its new report.

Recent high profile incidents of personal data loss in Europe have prompted wide discussion about the level of security applied to personal information shared, processed, stored and transmitted electronically.

The Executive Director of the Agency, Prof. Udo Helmbrecht, commented:

"Gaining and maintaining the trust of citizens of that their data is secure and protected is an important factor in the future development and take-up of innovative technologies and online services across Europe."

The introduction of an EU DBN requirement for the electronic communication sector in ePrivacy Directive (2002/58/EC) is important to increase data security in Europe and to reassure citizens that their data is protected by e-communications operators. The Agency has taken stock of the current situation by interviewing the national DPAs and a representative sample of companies. The telecommunications sector recognises that DBN have an important role for data protection and privacy. Yet, operators are seeking clarifications at both EU and local level as to comply with DBN requirements. The expectations of DPAs and operators in most cases overlap, but there are some discrepancies.

Key concerns raised by telecom operators and DPAs include:

- Risk Prioritisation - The seriousness of a breach should determine the
level of response. Breaches should be categorised according to risk
levels to avoid 'notification fatigue'.

- Communication Channels - Operators need assurances that notification
requirements will not impact their brands in a negative way.

- Resources - some regulatory authorities are already occupied with other

- Enforcement - DPAs indicated that sanctioning authority enables them to
better enforce regulations.

- Undue Delay in reporting-Regulators wants short deadlines for reporting
breaches. Service providers, however want to focus their resources on
solving the problem.

- Content of Notifications - Operators want to make sure the notification
content does not impact negatively on customer relations. Regulators
want all the necessary information.

In 2011 the Agency will develop guidelines for the technical
implementation measures and the procedures, as in Art. 4 of Directive
2002/58/EC (
) and analyse the possibility for extending the general obligation of DBN to
other sectors, e.g. the financial sector, health care, and small businesses.
This will be discussed at a workshop (
http://www.enisa.europa.eu/act/it/data-breach-notification) that ENISA
organises in Brussels on 24 January, 2011.

For full report: http://www.enisa.europa.eu/act/it/dbn/

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