US privacy, consumer groups back EU's proposed privacy rules

The groups also give recommendations for strengthening the EU privacy proposal

Twenty-two U.S. privacy and consumer groups have voiced support for a tough online privacy proposal being considered by the European Union, even though some U.S. businesses and government officials have described the proposal as too regulatory.

The proposal "provides important new protections for the privacy and security of consumers," the groups wrote in a letter sent Wednesday to members of the European Parliament."We believe that the promotion of stronger privacy standards in Europe will benefit consumers around the globe, as businesses improve their privacy practices and security standards."

The E.U. proposal could become the global standard for privacy protections online, said Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, one of the U.S. groups supporting the regulation. That's why the U.S. government and our commercial interests are so alarmed," he said in an email. "U.S. businesses would rather dismiss privacy concerns ... even though they have created a powerful system of commercial surveillance on consumers."

Some members of President Barack Obama's administration and some U.S. business groups have questioned the data privacy proposal. The proposal "errs too far in the direction of imposing prescriptive mandates for how enterprises must collect, store, and manage information," Thomas Boué, European director of government affairs for the Business Software Alliance, said in January. "The risk in the proposal's current design is that it will bog down companies with onerous compliance obligations, which could inhibit digital innovation at the expense of job creation and growth."

Despite the opposition, the privacy and consumer groups, including Consumers Union, Privacy Rights Now, the Electronic Privacy Information Center and Public Citizen, called for the E.U. to strengthen the privacy protections in the proposal.

The E.U. should limit the number of compliance exceptions in the proposed General Data Protection Regulation, promote greater transparency in data practices and strengthen the public's right to data portability, the groups said. The proposal should also limit the scope of information online businesses can collect through "legitimate interests," the groups said.

The seven recommendations in Wednesday's letter point out potential weaknesses in the proposal, said Susan Grant, director of consumer protection at the Consumer Federation of America.

"I would describe our recommendations as urging the E.U. to clarify and tighten up some of the provisions to avoid creating loopholes and actually weakening the privacy protection that the regulation seeks to provide," she said in an email.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?