Wednesday

20th Nov 2019

EU wants data protection bill by May 2014

  • Reding wants the EU data protection reform completed by May 2014 (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

The European commission wants legislators to speed up the data protection bill currently stuck in the European Parliament’s civil liberties committee.

The regulation and its adjoining directive aim to protect the personal data of EU citizens from abuse by creating a single uniform EU-wide law.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 year's of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

EU commissioner for justice Viviane Reding on Monday (15 July) issued an appeal for member states to place the bill on the agenda of an EU summit in autumn.

“I would find it helpful if the European Council in October, which will deal with the European single market, could address this matter and speed up the work in the Council on this important file,” she said.

Reding is pushing to get the data package completed before the European Parliament elections in May 2014.

The package has suffered a number of delays in the parliament as MEPs in the civil liberties committee debate the details of some 4,000 amendments.

Their orientation vote, which recommends how the euro-deputies should vote once the bill hits the plenary floor, was initially scheduled earlier this year.

The orientation vote is now provisionally set for mid-October.

Reding’s appeal follows German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s call for stronger EU-wide data protection rules.

Merkel on Sunday said US companies based in Ireland like Facebook and Google must explain to what extent they share the personal data of EU citizens with US authorities.

The fall-out over the revelations by the Guardian newspaper on the extent and scale of the US-led snooping operations like Prism has caused public uproar in Europe and put Internet and tech giants on the defensive.

Facebook in June announced that it received between 9,000 and 10,000 user data access requests from government entities in the US in the last six months in 2012.

The social media giant wants US authorities to ease restrictions to better inform its users on the types of requests they receive and how they respond.

Meanwhile, European Commission officials are reviewing two pre-existing data transfer agreements with the US in parallel to the trade negotiations in Washington.

They are checking if the US respects the conditions outlined in the passenger name record and the Swift agreements.

A clause entitles either side to terminate the agreements with a six-month notice.

Home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom had already issued a warning in a letter to the Americans that both agreements are at risk if the review reports fail to impress the data protection safeguard concerns of the European Parliament.

The reports should be ready in the Autumn.

An EU official close to the issue said both agreements are in danger because of Prism.

The review meetings kicked off last week amid “a profound mistrust” between the EU and US, he noted.

Interview

Facebook, Skype challenged in EU over spy affair

A group of Austrian students have challenged the EU-based subsidiaries of Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Skype and Yahoo on data privacy following revelations that they allowed US intelligence services to search to Europeans' data.

EU data watchdog to investigate Prism scandal

EU data regulators will carry out their own investigation into whether privacy rules have been breached by secret US surveillance programmes, according to the bloc's privacy experts.

Feature

Widow's plea as EU diplomats debate Magnitsky Act

"If evil is not defeated, it tends to expand", Natalia Magnitsky, the widow of a Russian anti-corruption activist, has said, as EU diplomats discuss human rights sanctions 10 years after his death.

Commission defends Breton's Atos over police data

The European Commission defended Atos for hosting EU police data, despite its own public guidelines that state operational and technical copies should not be entrusted to third parties. Atos former CEO Thierry Breton is set to become a European commissioner.

News in Brief

  1. Estonia working on 'Plan B' for Nato
  2. Report: Hungary gagged EU on Israeli settlers
  3. Polls suggest draw after Johnson vs Corbyn TV duel
  4. EU ambassador to testify in Trump impeachment inquiry
  5. Hungary, Poland block EU conclusions on rule of law
  6. France: wide EU backing for enlargement change
  7. EU Council calls for policy action to protect marine life
  8. ECJ: Poland's judicial independence in doubt

Stalling on VAT reform costing billions, says Commission

German media outlet Correctiv, along with other newsrooms, have revealed how criminals annually cheat EU states out of billions in VAT fraud. The EU Commission says solutions exist - but member states refuse to budge on tax unanimity.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  3. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  5. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  6. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  7. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  9. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us