[A2k] Will You Let Protection of Your Data Go Down the Drain?
La Quadrature du Net
jz at laquadrature.net
Tue Mar 19 04:02:25 PDT 2013
Themes: DATA PROTECTION, PRIVACY, PERSONAL DATA, EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, MARIELLE GALLO
La Quadrature du Net – For immediate release
Permanent link: https://www.laquadrature.net/en/will-you-let-protection-of-your-data-go-down-the-drain
Will You Let Protection of Your Data Go Down the Drain?
*** Brussels, 19 March 2013 — The “Legal Affairs” (JURI) Committee, the fourth and last one on this matter, had just voted its opinion on the European Commission's proposal of data protection regulation, led by Marielle Gallo (France - EPP). With this latest opinion vote, slightly less catastrophic than the previous ones, the European Parliament weakened once again the protection of citizen's personal data. Members of the four committees who gave their opinion chose to side with giant US corporations such as Facebook and Google that collect, process and trade data about our everyday life. Citizen mobilization is slowly starting to bear fruit, yet it must be tremendously amplified before the crucial vote of the main “Civil Liberties” (LIBE) Committee -scheduled for 24-25 April, but likely to be postponed- on its report. ***
Once again, Marielle Gallo (France - PPE) chose to protect business interests rather than citizens' rights, and led the “Legal Affairs” (JURI) Committee to vote an opinion weakening the initial proposal by the European Commission to protect citizens' privacy. Amendments by Marielle Gallo and her conservative colleagues (helped by most Members of the liberal (ALDE) group) call for instance for allowing companies to process citizens' personal data and transmit them to third parties who can do whatever they want with them, if they claim it is their “legitimate interest” . Some other adopted amendments call for the processing of data for uses incompatible with the original data collection  and introduce all kinds of loopholes.
Thus, this vote follows the line of the “Consumers” (IMCO) vote of January , and of the “Industry” (ITRE) and “Employment's” (EMPL) votes of February , which already include most of the demands of the industry lobbies and jeopardized the protections initially laid down by proposal of the European Commission.
Still, all previous votes including this one were only opinion votes, with no legislative value. The next vote in the main “Civil Liberties” (LIBE) Committee, scheduled for the end of April, but likely to be postponed, will be the real decisive step that will determine if the EU will allow a full control of their personal data by citizens or a US-like regime where corporations can do anything they want, and process, store, sell citizens data without any constraint.
Yet, today's vote was slightly less catastrophic than previous ones, demonstrating that the Members of the European Parliament may be sensitive to the citizen mobilization and pressure from the media, and that they will only protect our right to privacy if we push them hard to do so. Before the LIBE vote, citizens must mobilize and contact their MEPs.
“Crucial stakes about our privacy and the future of online economy will be played in the main 'Civil Liberties' Committee. By increasing pressure on their elected representatives, citizens can put them in front of their responsibilities and impose that Facebook, Google and such gigantic corporations are not given an 'open bar' access to their personal data. We must retain control of our data, as it is our way to keep control of our lives online. All we be played between now and the upcoming European elections.” concluded Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesperson for citizen advocacy group La Quadrature du Net.
* References *
1. Am. 24 by Marielle Gallo (France - EPP)
2. Am. 144 by Klaus-Heiner Lehne (Germany - EPP)
** About la Quadrature du Net **
La Quadrature du Net is an advocacy group that defends the rights and freedoms of citizens on the Internet. More specifically, it advocates for the adaptation of French and European legislations to respect the founding principles of the Internet, most notably the free circulation of knowledge.
In addition to its advocacy work, the group also aims to foster a better understanding of legislative processes among citizens. Through specific and pertinent information and tools, La Quadrature du Net hopes to encourage citizens' participation in the public debate on rights and freedoms in the digital age.
La Quadrature du Net is supported by French, European and international NGOs including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Open Society Institute and Privacy International.
List of supporting organisations: https://www.laquadrature.net/en/they-support-la-quadrature-du-net
** Press contact and press room **
Jérémie Zimmermann, jz at laquadrature.net, +33 (0)615 940 675
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