Saturday

19th Oct 2019

Online giants in firing line on EU data privacy law

  • Online-giants could be banned from selling data on web-browsing (Photo: Franco Bouly)

MEPs are set to come under industry pressure from the likes of Facebook and Google over legislation restricting their right to use and sell personal data collected online.

The report by German Green deputy, Jan-Philip Albrecht, published on Tuesday (9 December) on the EU's data protection regulation, proposes to tighten the rules on an individual's right to delete their data if there is no legitimate reason for a business to retain it.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Albrecht also opposes provisions that would allow businesses to change the purpose of holding personal data after it has been collected, and to prevent firms from using and selling data without the explicit permission of users.

"Users must be informed about what happens with their data, and they must be able to consciously agree to data processing - or reject it," he said.

For her part, EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding noted that she is "glad to see that the European Parliament rapporteurs are supporting the Commission's aim to strengthen Europe's data protection rules which currently date back to 1995 – pre-Internet age."

"A strong, clear and uniform legal framework will help unleashing the potential of the Digital Single Market and foster economic growth, innovation and job creation in Europe," she added.

Industry groups were more critical, however.

Search-engines and social media sites generate much of their revenue from advertising clicks and selling information on web-browsing habits.

Facebook's head of EU policy, Erika Mann, herself a former centre-left MEP, welcomed what she described as "the thoughtful approach of the rapporteur on many issues."

But she said that Facebook is "concerned that some aspects of the report do not support a flourishing European Digital Single Market and the reality of innovation on the Internet."

Meanwhile, the ICT-industry lobby group, Industry Coalition for Data Protection, claimed that Albrecht had "missed an opportunity to reconcile effective privacy safeguards with rules protecting the conduct of business—both fundamental rights under the EU charter."

The draft report is parliament's first response to the commission proposals published last January.

The data protection package comprises a draft regulation and a directive.

The regulation, on which Albrecht will lead in parliament, will be strictly enforced across the 27 EU countries, while the directive, piloted by Greek centre-left MEP Dimitrios Droutsas, focuses on the rules for law enforcement authorities and includes only minimum standards.

National governments want police and judicial authorities to be kept out of the scope of the regime.

MEPs on the civil liberties committee will debate the report on Thursday (10 January) with the committee timetabled to adopt its position on the files in April.

EU data protection rules 'on schedule' despite delay

Despite not having begun formal deliberations in committee, the European Parliament is on course to define its position on the EU's new data protection regime by mid-2013, according to data privacy expert Sophie In't Veld.

Facebook warns against 'detailed' EU data law

The world’s largest social media company, Facebook, says the EU draft data protection regulation should remain broad enough to create incentives for business to comply.

News in Brief

  1. Macron: Nato's inability to react to Turkey a 'mistake'
  2. EU: US can expect counter measures after tariff move
  3. Almost 7,500 people forcibly returned to Libya in 2019
  4. Puigdemont released after responding to arrest warrant
  5. Commission: Facebook's Libra needs international approach
  6. Italian PM: denial of accession talks a 'historic mistake'
  7. Catalan president blames clashes on 'infiltrators'
  8. US imposes €6.7bn new tariffs on European products

EU parliament quietly hoards visitors' wi-fi data

The European Parliament is retaining the data of everyone who uses their wi-fi network, including journalists and visitors, and providing access to national authorities in case of investigations.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  2. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  3. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  4. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  6. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  10. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  12. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us