“More data protection, less business?” – Review of the Fabasoft TechSalon on November 25, 2014

The European Commission wants to strengthen digital economy. A new General Data Protection Regulation will bring the handling of personal data on a standardised level across all member states. What does this mean for consumers and businesses in Austria? What data may be stored and processed? And how will this be implemented in reality?

On November 25, 2014, experts together with the audience of the Vienna Fabasoft TechSalon discussed data protection. The panel: Helmut Fallmann, founder and member of the Managing Board of Fabasoft AG; Albert Steinhauser, Member of Parliament and judiciary speaker for Die Grünen; Johann Maier, chairman of the Data Protection Commission at the Austrian Federal Chancellery; and Peter Resch-Edermayr, synetics.

“The European Commission needs to strengthen the competitiveness of European companies in order to counter the market power of medium-sized US IT companies”, says Helmut Fallmann, Fabasoft. To this aim, “the highest standards of IT security and data protection” need to be set up, allowing European information and communications technology to clearly stand out against its overseas competition and create new added value.

“We should campaign for the recognition that data protection and the economy are not opposed to each other. This requires that we negotiate a framework companies can rely on”, demands Albert Steinhauser, Member of Parliament and judiciary speaker for Die Grünen. The General Data Protection Regulation which is currently being negotiated will bring new legal certainty and can strengthen the competitiveness of the Austrian economy in a European as well as a global context.

Johann Maier, chairman of the Data Protection Commission at the Austrian Federal Chancellery: “Europe is faced with the problem that the 1995 General Data Protection Regulation has been implemented in highly diverse ways. For economic considerations, many countries are today unwilling to agree to the new data protection standards brought forward by the European Commission.” Maier fears that the General Data Protection Regulation may lead to “setbacks in some areas”. He agrees in regarding strict data protection as a competitive advantage, which in addition strengthens trust in a digital economy.

“In medium-sized businesses, awareness is not yet high enough to put data protection legislation into practice. But there is a clear trend towards the right direction, which is also fuelled by public discussion”, says Peter Resch-Edermayer, synetics, who is convinced of a basically positive development. Nevertheless, many IT managers are more or less left alone by their companies when it comes to storing data and data protection issues.

The event was moderated by Martin Szelgrad, Report Verlag.
After the round of discussions, the speakers as well as the audience made excellent use of the networking opportunities.

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