The European Commission calls for online privacy protection measures

By EDRi · October 21, 2009

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: [Die Europäische Kommission fordert online-Schutzmaßnahmen für die Privatsphäre |]

Macedonian: [Европската комисија апелира за мерки… |]

On 8 October 2009 the European Commission (EC) repeated its call to all EU
member states to increase their efforts in dealing with online privacy
threats to the public, such as spam, spyware and malware, based on findings
from a study required by the Commission.

The study performed by time.lex “Study on activities undertaken to address
threats that undermine the confidence in the Information Society, such as
spam, spyware and malicious software”, which includes assessments of
progress in each EU country, shows the need of legislative improvements,
more consistent enforcement rules and sanctions and better cross-border
cooperation in the domain.

“Today’s figures show that several EU countries are doing more to enforce
online privacy rules. However, spam is an area where we can and must improve
for the benefit of internet users in the EU ,” said Viviane Reding, EU
Commissioner for Information Society and Media who added that “Although
since 2002, European law has prohibited spam and spyware, on average 65% of
EU citizens are still affected by spam on a regular basis. We need to step
up our fight against spammers and make sure that the EU adopts legislation
that provides for strong civil and criminal sanctions against spammers. I
call on EU countries to reinforce their national efforts to fight on-line
privacy threats such as spam, spyware and malicious software.”

The study reveals that there are large differences in the way the member
states enforce regulations and apply sanctions for spammers and recommends a
more successful approach in fighting online threats that should involve a
combination of prevention, enforcement and raising public awareness (as
proposed also by Critical Information Infrastructure Protection policy).
“Public authorities (such as telecoms regulators, data protection and
consumer agencies and law enforcement
bodies) must have clear responsibilities and cooperation procedures between
themselves; while public and private sector must also work together.” In
order to achieve that, EU countries should provide sufficient resources to
national authorities so that they may gather evidence, carry out
investigations and built prosecution in this field.

The findings also show that the level of cooperation also differs between EU
countries and indicates that as spam is a global problem, there is the need
for a closer cooperation with the EU as well as worldwide.

More action needed to fight spammers and protect online privacy, says
Commission report (8.10.2009)

Study on activities undertaken to address threats that undermine confidence
in the Information Society, such as spam, spyware and malicious software –
Spam and spyware study SMART 2008/0013 Final Report – (2.10.2009)

Critical Information Infrastructure Protection – a new initiative in 2009