The Article 29 Working Party has issued an opinion in which it has clarified the scope of application of the Data Protection Directive.
The main focus of the opinion is on Article 4(1)(c) of the Directive which specifies when the provisions of the EU data protection regime should apply to entities established outside of the EU. In such circumstances, the Working Party advocates a broad interpretation of the term "equipment" as any means used for the purpose of data processing. The Working Party believes this is especially relevant in light of technologies such as the Internet, which facilitate the collection and processing of personal data at a distance and without a physical presence in the EU. However, the Working Party also acknowledges that such a broad application of the Directive could have a negative economic impact on non-EU entities and it therefore suggests additional criteria to limit the application of the EU data protection regime to entities that actively target EU citizens for their personal data. For example, where information is displayed in EU languages, or an EU credit card is required for the receipt of services.
It remains to be seen whether any of the Working Party's proposals are taken into account by the European Commission when it prepares its draft proposal for a revised Data Protection Directive, expected later this year.
A copy of the Working Party's opinion is available here.