Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) March 20, 2013
Even American businesses with only occasional business dealings in Europe risk paying relatively large fines for even unwitting violations of newly emerging privacy rules, a Washington-based intellectual property attorney warned today.
Melise Blakeslee, founder and managing partner of Sequel Technology & IP Law PLLC, a D.C. boutique firm specializing in technical and intellectual property law, issued the cautionary note on her blog. Her firm services a number of firms who have customers, business relationships and servers in Europe.
“Everyone knows that the Internet is a global medium, that it is no respecter of national boundaries,” Blakeslee said.
“Despite that obvious truth, most U.S.-based corporations, tend to view any attempt on the part of a foreign government to impose any restrictions or regulations on Internet traffic and commerce as irrelevant,” she pointed out. “That cavalier attitude is a serious mistake.”
New regulations pending in the EU Parliament can ultimately cost American businesses billions of dollars in fines. This despite the fact that a number of large EU member states have begun pressing for a softening of some of the regulations in recent days, and that some loosening of restrictions will almost certainly take place before their adoption.
“The right to data privacy is enshrined in the founding documents of the EU,” Blakeslee reminded her clients. Article 8 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights guarantees that every European citizen “has the right to the protection of personal data concerning him or her.”
A number of U.S. companies, led by Google and Facebook, have been lobbying both in the U.S. and Europe in opposition to the tough regulations, which under the proposed law would carry fines of as much as 2% of a company’s global revenues.
“Whether you have customers, business partners, servers or any other presence in Europe,” Blakeslee concludes, “you may be subject to adhering to the data privacy rules of the EU. It also means that remaining ignorant or complacent is a potentially costly mistake.”