MEP's report on new EU data protection rules gets critical reception

It's impossible to keep everyone happy, says German MEP Albrecht

A European Parliamentarian's report on proposed updates to data protection rules was criticized by rights advocates Tuesday.

German MEP (Member of European Parliament) Jan Philipp Albrecht's report was in response to the European Commission's proposed updates to data protection rules that date from 1995. In general, Albrecht supports the proposals for a coherent and robust data protection framework with strong enforceable rights for individuals, but does suggest some substantial modifications to the Commission's draft text.

Albrecht reiterated his view that pre-ticked boxes do not express free consent, and also pushed for a stricter "right to be forgotten" (the right to erase one's data if there are no legitimate grounds to retain it) as well as the inclusion of a definition of "anonymous data", following demands from fellow parliamentarians.

Albrecht also suggested a compromise on the controversial "legitimate interest" approach. Legitimate interest would allow companies to process personal data without permission if their reasons for doing so are more compelling than the individual's right to privacy. Albrecht suggested that this should only be allowed in "exceptional" circumstances and that the individual concerned must be informed.

Finally, Albrecht wants to significantly reduce the number of delegated acts. Delegated acts, also known as "Commission empowerments", allow the Commission to introduce more specific rules, if deemed necessary, without going through a long legislative process.

Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding, who drew up the original Commission proposals, welcomed the report, along with another by Greek MEP Dimitrios Droutsas that suggests minor changes from a law enforcement perspective.

However not everyone was so pleased. European digital rights group, EDRi, said in a statement that "Albrecht has sought to improve on the Commission's initial proposal and to address many of the concerns raised by his colleagues, but the resulting text is therefore a mix of straightforward attempts at positive improvements and attempts at compromise based on the opinions so far expressed by his colleagues."

Meanwhile fellow parliamentarian, Alexandro Alvaro was even more critical. "The design is often vague, lacks bold proposals and in general, the report is lacking in depth and balance," he said on his website.

But Albrecht said a mixed response was to be expected. "With so many interests it is impossible to make everybody happy, but I think I have made everybody equally unhappy and that we are on the right track. I think it is always going to be difficult to strike the right balance between the rights of the individual on one hand and not overburdening businesses and public authorities with too much bureaucracy on the other. In my report, I also tried to take on board the concerns of the other committees which also examined the proposals," he said.

According to the European Commission, 72 percent of Internet users are worried that they give away too much personal data and feel they are not in complete control of their data. The Commission also projects that a single set of rules on data protection across the E.U. will remove unnecessary administrative requirements for companies saving businesses around ¬2.3 billion (US$3 billion) a year.

The European Parliament's LIBE Committee will discuss the draft reports on Jan. 10, and the Parliament as a whole will review them in March before a vote in April.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags business issuesserviceslegalgovernmentinternet

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?