Tuesday, 22 October 2013

MEPs raising stakes on EU data protection

Yesterday, the EP civil liberties committee voted to endorse the data protection package proposed by the Commission (one directive and one regulation) , giving the Parliament a full mandate to engage in negotiations with MS representatives and get the new rules passed as soon as possible. 

The new measures should, in particular, introduce clearer safeguards for European citizens when interacting- especially on the Internet- with counterparts settled in non-EU countries.The MPs stressed how the urgency to adopt such measures has been made clear by the mass surveillance cases which started to be uncovered at the beginning of last summer and are, as it seems, still unravelling.

Three are the main features of the proposed legislation:
1) need for authorisation: no provider should be entitled to transfer data concerning European citizens or Europe-originated information without an authorization from European data protection authorities (and without informing the person concerned);
2) important sanctions would be imposed on companies breaching those requirements;
3) citizens should be entitled to manage their data: which means that no data should be collected without the explicit assent of the person affected and that one should always be entitled to obtain erasure of the information which concerns her.

The Parliament hopes to see the negotiations through before the coming European elections, to be held in May 2014.

P.S. 23/10/2013: As I write the Parliament is voting on the possible suspension of the SWIFT agreement between the EU and the US, due to suspects that the latter were abusing of it in order to process EU citizens' financial data outside the scope of the protocol. We will keep you posted on the results of this (non-binding) vote.

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