Data protection vote – one step forward, two big steps backwards

By EDRi · October 21, 2013

The European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee held a crucial vote this evening on the future of privacy and data protection in Europe.

We applaud Parliamentarians for supporting – and even improving – several important and valuable elements of the original Commission proposal. We are particularly happy that the Committee chose to overturn the Commission’s proposal to allow Member States the scope to exempt themselves from the rules on profiling.

Nonetheless, we are shocked and disappointed that Parliamentarians voted to introduce massive loopholes that undermine the whole proposal.

If allowed to stand, this vote would launch an ‘open season’ for online companies to quietly collect our data, create profiles and sell our personalities to the highest bidder” said Joe McNamee, Executive Director of European Digital Rights. “This is all the more disappointing because it undermines and negates much of the good work that has been done,” he added.

Despite almost daily stories of data being lost, mislaid, breached and trafficked to and by foreign governments, our elected representatives adopted a text saying that corporate tracking and profiling of individuals should not be understood as significantly affecting our rights and our freedoms.

The Committee extended the range of circumstances in which companies can process an individual’s data without their consent – and made the rules far less easy to understand.

These huge loopholes are all the more disappointing when we consider that MEPs agreed to support several positive measures elsewhere in the text. These measures include an adequate level of sanctions in case of abuses, data breach notifications, data portability and data protection by design and by default.

The problematic compromises adopted are:

Compromise 4

Compromise 6

Compromise 20