Privacy Advisor

Regulation Reactions Dominate EU News

DATA PROTECTION—EU

May 30, 2013

A look through the EU’s headlines of the past week yields a consistent theme: the proposed data protection regulation. From concerns voiced by European Data Protection Supervisor Peter Hustinx and German Rapporteur Jan Philip Albrecht on the future of the proposal to worries from charitable organisations that the regulation’s provisions could impact their ability to market to donors, the regulation continues to spark conversations and concerns.

EurActiv has reported on Hustinx’s comments regarding the need to “distinguish the proposal from the rhetoric” in light of lobbying efforts. Following the delivery of his annual report to the European Parliament (EP) Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee, Hustinx told the media if the legislation does not pass before the end of the EP’s tenure, it will mean “serious repercussions in terms of economic development.”

Meanwhile, EUObserver reports on German Rapporteur Jan Philip Albrecht’s concerns that the EU may end up with weaker legislation than it has now—contravening a 2011 vote to create a law at least as strong as, if not stronger than, the 1995 directive.

Out-Law.com reports on recent plans from the European Commission to strengthen individuals’ rights to object to profiling by businesses, noting the Article 29 Working Party (WP) supports those rules but believes they “should only apply in cases where individuals' rights are significantly affected.”

The WP has also indicated that guidelines are needed to define what “significantly affect” means, recommending the new body that will replace the European Data Protection Board be tasked with that effort.

“Where profiling does not significantly affect the interests, rights or freedoms of the data subject,” the WP wrote, “the lawfulness of processing is to be assessed in the light of the other provisions of the regulation.”

A report in ThirdSector highlights UK fundraisers’ concerns about the potential impact of the proposed EU data protection regulation on donations, noting EU officials expect little change. Of concern to charitable organisations is a requirement for donor permission to receive direct mail and “a rule on 'profiling' that would, for example, prevent charities sending appeals to everyone called Wayne in the knowledge that they are likely to be between 35 and 40 years old,” the report states.

A European Commission spokeswoman has said explicit consent will not be required for marketing and the profiling issue would only arise “in cases where it would significantly affect the individual,” the report states.

Meanwhile, European Commission Director General for Justice Françoise Le Bail is quoted in Fierce Government IT on commenting that efforts toward increased regulation of the use of personal data are not incompatible with the digital economy.

The EU’s proposed data protection regulation has received criticism for such aspects as its implementation requirements and provisions calling for explicit consent for utilizing personal data and a "right to be forgotten," to name a few.

"There is no contradiction between protecting the rights and developing the market," Le Bail said, suggesting data protection will help market development "because the consumer is asking for it.”

—IAPP Staff