Industry Committee scrapes together a majority for a disastrous data protection opinion

By EDRi · February 20, 2013

The Industry Committee (ITRE) of the European Parliament today adopted a disastrously badly drafted Opinion on data protection. The effect of the adopted text would be to effectively rip up decades of privacy legislation in Europe, undermining trust and confidence – to the detriment of both citizens and business.

“There are positives to be drawn out of this result,” said Joe McNamee, Executive Director of EDRi. “The majority was not huge and the number of bad amendments was reduced over the past few days, in order to scrape this majority together. It is becoming increasingly difficult in the Parliament to find majorities for measures which are destructive to citizens’ rights”.

As an example of the bizarre proposals adopted was that third parties should be able to grant themselves the right to process data for purposes that are incompatible with the original purpose of the collection. This basically removes all power from the citizen to control their own data. This amendment on its own would render the entire legislative measure close to meaningless.

Shockingly, this vote happened despite numerous opinion polls showing high levels of mistrust regarding the way industry handles and uses personal data. Rather than voting to give Europe a clear and comprehensive legal framework to overcome this problem, the Committee voted for a confused, contradictory watering down of the proposal.