Data Breach Notifications in Europe - new EU Agency Report

By Enisa - European Network And Information Security Agency, PRNE
Wednesday, January 12, 2011

BRUSSELS and HERAKLION, Greece, January 14, 2011 - 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 ( that ENISA
organises in Brussels on 24 January, 2011.

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The original and valid version of this release is the English.
Translations are for the purpose of media distribution only, the English
takes precedence over them in every detail.

For full report:

For interviews please contact: Ulf Bergstrom, Spokesman, ENISA, Mobile: +30-6948-460134,
press at or Slawomir Gorniak, Expert, +30-6970015163,
slawomir.gorniak at

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