Tuesday

4th Oct 2022

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

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe 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.

EU adding Bahamas to tax-haven blacklist

The EU is adding Anguilla, the Bahamas, and Turks and Caicos Islands to its blacklist of tax-havens, in what some have called a "fig-leaf" exercise.

Opinion

What von der Leyen's 'State of Union' didn't mention

Ursula von der Leyen barely noticed that European democracy is under attack not only from external threats, but from within. Two of the world's leading autocratic countries are EU member states.

News in Brief

  1. Czechs warn joint-nationality citizens in Russia on mobilisation
  2. Greece to unveil proposal for capping EU gas prices
  3. Four dead, 29 missing, after dinghy found off Canary Islands
  4. Orbán: German €200bn shield is start of 'cannibalism in EU'
  5. Lithuania expels top Russian diplomat
  6. Poland insists on German WW2 reparations
  7. Russia halts gas supplies to Italy
  8. Bulgaria risks hung parliament after inconclusive vote

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. The European Association for Storage of EnergyRegister for the Energy Storage Global Conference, held in Brussels on 11-13 Oct.
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  3. European Committee of the RegionsThe 20th edition of EURegionsWeek is ready to take off. Save your spot in Brussels.
  4. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries

Latest News

  1. Last-minute legal changes to Bosnian election law stir controversy
  2. EU wants probe into alleged Nagorno-Karabakh war crimes
  3. EU officials were warned of risk over issuing financial warning
  4. EU debates national energy plans amid calls for more coordination
  5. What Modi and Putin’s ‘unbreakable friendship’ means for the EU
  6. EU leaders have until Friday for refugee resettlement pledges
  7. Cities and regions stand with citizens and SMEs ahead of difficult winter
  8. Editor's weekly digest: A week of leaks

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us