Tuesday

16th Apr 2024

EU citizens to remain in the dark on data breaches

  • If your data is encrypted, your bank does not have to tell you it was hacked (Photo: Agnes Lisik)

Telecom operators and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will not have to tell people their personal data has been hacked if they adhere to European Commission guidelines.

The commission on Monday (24 June) said the yet-to-be published guideline includes a new safeguard on encrypting personal data, which would spare companies the embarrassment of having to go public if the information is stolen by a hacker or released by accident.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

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

... or subscribe as a group

“If a company applies such techniques but suffers a data breach, they would be exempt from the burden of having to notify the subscriber because such a breach would not actually reveal the subscriber’s personal data,” the commission said in a statement.

Digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes said it would “level the playing field” between consumers and businesses.

“Businesses need simplicity,” she noted.

She added that consumers also need to know when their personal data has been compromised, but only when this is possible.

The encryption rule is bundled with a new set of other measures to clarify what the industry should do in the event of a breach.

The rules enter into force in August and would set up a common online identification form for data loss notifications. Companies would use the form to notify a national authority if their system has been hacked.

The rules are being added to the existing ePrivacy directive which requires companies to keep people’s data secure and to notify them of data breaches.

Companies are required to erase or anonymise any data that serves no purpose.

But a controversial article in the EU legislation allows member states to keep the data in the event of criminal investigations or in cases involving national security.

The article is similar to one in the EU data retention directive, which is currently being challenged in the EU court in Luxembourg.

The data retention directive requires mobile phone companies and ISPs to monitor a person’s location, calls and emails.

The companies are then obliged to store the data for up to two years in the event of a police investigation.

Digital Rights Ireland has filed a case against the EU data retention law in the European Court of Justice, arguing there are not enough safeguards in the legislation.

A verdict is due on 9 July.

Digital rights experts say that even if the data retention directive is overturned the corresponding article in the ePrivacy law could remain intact.

EU Parliament set to sue EU Commission over Hungary funds

The European Parliament will likely take the European Commission to court for unblocking more than €10bn in funds for Hungary last December. A final nod of approval is still needed by European Parliament president, Roberta Metsola.

Opinion

Potential legal avenues to prosecute Navalny's killers

The UN could launch an independent international investigation into Navalny's killing, akin to investigation I conducted on Jamal Khashoggi's assassination, or on Navalny's Novichok poisoning, in my role as special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, writes the secretary-general of Amnesty International.

Latest News

  1. EU puts Sudan war and famine-risk back in spotlight
  2. EU to blacklist Israeli settlers, after new sanctions on Hamas
  3. Private fears of fairtrade activist for EU election campaign
  4. Brussels venue ditches far-right conference after public pressure
  5. How German police pulled the plug on a Gaza conference
  6. EU special summit, MEPs prep work, social agenda This WEEK
  7. EU leaders condemn Iran, urge Israeli restraint
  8. UK-EU deal on Gibraltar only 'weeks away'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us