Friday

22nd Sep 2017

EU backs down on 'right to be forgotten' online

  • Reding wants to 'build on existing rules' when ensuring privacy online (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

After intense lobbying by online companies from Europe and the US, the European Commission has softened its stance on the 'right to be forgotten' in preparation of an overhaul of the bloc's data privacy rules due early next year.

"We need a framework for privacy that protects consumers and encourages the digital economy to grow," EU justice and fundamental rights commissioner Viviane Reding said Monday (29 November) at en event organised by the American Chamber of Commerce in Brussels.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Unlike in March, when she delivered a barnstorming speech in the European Parliament that declared a new "right to be forgotten" and "burden of proof" that should be placed on online companies to justify why they need to store personal data, now Reding mentioned this only briefly towards the end of her intervention.

"The right to be forgotten should build on existing rules. If one doesn't want his data to be stored any longer and there is no legitimate need for the company to keep it, then data should be removed," she said.

Picking up on long-standing complaints from the industry that data privacy rules across Europe are too fragmented and costly to implement, Reding promised to deliver a "one-stop shop" for privacy rules, with new legislation that will be binding for all 27 member states.

However, companies will have to only have to adhere to the national law of the EU country where their main operations, headquarters or data storage facility lies.

The commissioner also said the new law will "drastically" cut back on red tape and create a "more business-friendly environment." Companies such as Google and Facebook will no longer be required to send general notifications to data protection authorities in each member state, but instead "will focus on those requirements which enhance legal certainty."

The current data protection rules date back to 1995 at the dawn of the internet age and long before social networks such as Facebook and Twitter had appeared.

But the revamped legislation is already two years behind schedule and even if put forward in January, by the time it will be implemented in national law, technology is very likely to have evolved still further and brought about new privacy problems that will not be covered by it.

EU to press for 'right to be forgotten' online

The EU is in the process of revamping its data privacy rules dating back to 1995 so as to encompass social networks, online data aggregators and the way prosecutors and policemen across the bloc handle personal records.

Hungary and Poland defy EU authority

Hungary and Poland have said they "don't want a mixed population", amid a tug-of-war with the Commission on migrants and rule of law.

EU agency to fight election hacking

A new-model EU cybersecurity agency could help states defend their elections against "hybrid attacks", the Commission has said.

EU monitoring Cyprus passport sales

The European Commission has said it is in a "dialogue" with Cyprus amid concerns on loopholes in its passport sale scheme.

EU monitoring Cyprus passport sales

The European Commission has said it is in a "dialogue" with Cyprus amid concerns on loopholes in its passport sale scheme.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUGermany Stands Ready to Deepen Cooperation With China
  2. World VisionFirst Ever Young People Consultation to Discuss the Much Needed Peace in Europe
  3. European Jewish CongressGermany First Country to Adopt Working Definition of Antisemitism
  4. EU2017EEFour Tax Initiatives to Modernise the EU's Tax System
  5. Dialogue PlatformResponsibility in Practice: Gulen & Islamic Thought
  6. Counter BalanceHuman Rights Concerns Over EIB Loan to the Trans Anatolian Pipeline Project
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina Leads the Global Clean Energy Transition
  8. CES - Silicones EuropeFrom Baking Moulds to Oven Mitts, Silicones Are a Key Ingredient in Kitchens
  9. Martens CentreFor a New Europeanism: How to Put the Motto "Unity in Diversity" Into Practice
  10. Access MBAGet Ahead With an MBA Degree. Top MBA Event in Brussels
  11. Idealist QuarterlyIdealist Quarterly Event: Building Fearless Democracies With Gerald Hensel
  12. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi Urges Bigger Global Role for Emerging Economies