The European Parliament at a press conference today at 10.00 hours (livestream) presents her first evaluation of the new European privacy rules. These rules would replace the existing ones, which stem from 1995. Civil rights organizations criticize the draft report by MEP Albrecht (Greens). According to Bits of Freedom, the report introduces some improvements, but the proposal still insufficiently protects the privacy of internet users.
For example, there is no obligation of transparency on the part of corporations that disclose customer data to authorities. Also, the requirements for the use of personal data by corporations and governments are not sufficiently strengthened. This allows for the continuation of the status quo, where citizens often do not know what happens with their data.
No serious improvements
“This proposal to amend the new rules is unfortunately not very ambitious”, says Janneke Slöetjes, privacy expert with digital civil rights movement Bits of Freedom. “It by no means guarantees the privacy of internet users. Strong privacy protection is a precondition for a strong online economy. We cannot afford any more privacy mistakes.”
Brussels-based civil rights organization European Digital Rights initiative (EDRi) is also critical of the proposal.
Improve, not dilute
The European Commission introduced a first draft of the new privacy rules on 25 January 2012. The draft report of the European Parliament which is presented today, is an important starting point for further negotiations about these rules. The stakes are high: especially the US government and corporations push for further dilution of the rules. They want more leeway to use data and have access to data of European citizens. European Commissioner Reding called the lobby with regard to these privacy rules the most aggressive she has ever witnessed.