17 Dec 2013
Finding the balance in data protection – ensuring your rights while avoiding heavy regulation that can hinder Europe's online economy.
Hello and welcome to People First, the EPP Group's monthly program on issues with impact on people like you. Joining us to answer some of your questions is Axel Voss. He's a member of the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, and you're also a member of the EPP Group.
Mr. Voss, it must have been a real challenge, it's taken such a long time to get a data protection legislation through committee, even.
Yes, it is a very complex issue, so we have to take care for public administration affairs, for the private business models, for the public itself, for big companies, small companies, for online and offline business.
So much input from so many so-called stakeholders from all around, right?
And this is why it's so difficult. And of course all these different political opinions and all these different political groups also. Such a complex issue to bring this all together. But we find a way, and I hope it's also very good for the people also, that we strengthen their rights.
Well let's find out a little bit more about the legislation before we go to the viewer questions. Here we go.
How to fight the Big Brother image of the Internet with out killing the golden goose - the growth of an online economy creating millions of jobs? It's a dilemma European policymakers have long been wrestling with. The European Parliament's proposed legislation has recognised that the so-called "Right to be Forgotten," the right to have your data erased from all internet platforms – would be virtually impossible.
Instead of the right to be forgotten, the legislation provides the right to erase. A website has to allow you to delete your data, but cannot be expected to ensure that data has been deleted throughout cyberspace.
The Parliament's legislation would give you more control over your data – requiring your consent for advertisers to use it. You the consumer would have the right to obtain your data from any service-provider you've given it to.
There would be new protection for children. The legislation calls for parent permission for the use of online data involving children under the age of 13.
The US Prism spying scandal has intensified calls for stronger European enforcement of privacy rights. EU-US talks are under way to seek a solution. On the EU side, action is limited, as regulation of national intelligence agencies is up to the member states to decide. But the parliament has added an "anti-net-tapping" clause, in which a firm must inform a user if his or her data is to be relayed to another country, such as the US.
What about that anti-net-tapping clause? It's a bit controversial, isn't it? Do you think that will survive, will that stay in the legislation, when it's approved finally?
The deletion of everything is one of the main issues for the people, for the citizens. And finding something like the deletion of everything that's in the internet, of your data, that's critical, because of technical feasibilities. And therefore the companies are doing copies and backups, and storing so much in archives.
So much redundancy. How do you deal with that?
Yes, and this is a problem, deleting data everywhere you have stored. And therefore the deletion itself, with a company you have a contract with, or a relation with, this is the main issue that we have in mind.
Let's go to our first vox pop question, and this very basic one on what others do with your data.
I am from Brussels. And I would like to know in what way can we control the data that are in the hands of a lot of entities, to know what possibilities there are of controlling, of deleting, of adapting.
How far does this legislation go in giving you control over your data?
It's concentrating a little bit on the first hand on the rights of the citizens. So for deleting, for rectifications, for copy
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