[A2k] Citizens' Privacy Jeopardized in EU Parliament Committees Again

La Quadrature du Net jz at laquadrature.net
Thu Feb 21 03:15:50 PST 2013


La Quadrature du Net – For immediate release

Permanent link: https://www.laquadrature.net/en/citizens-privacy-jeopardized-in-eu-parliament-committees-again

Citizens' Privacy Jeopardized in EU Parliament Committees Again

*** Paris, 21 February 2013 — One month after the terrible opinion vote [1] of the “Consumers” (IMCO) Committee, MEPs from the “Industry” (ITRE) committee, and to a lesser extent from the “Employment” (EMPL) one, have also voted to weaken protection of EU citizens' privacy. In the ITRE committee, because of the support [2] of Members of the liberal (ALDE) group, conservatives' amendments lifting restrictions on the collection, processing and resale of citizens' personal data by companies have been adopted. Before the “Legal Affairs” (JURI) committee's opinion vote [3] and the main, crucial, “Civil Liberties” (LIBE) committee's report vote [4], citizens should act and urge their MEPs [5] to break away from big corporations' lobbying and to protect their fundamental right to privacy. ***

The revision of the European regulation concerning the protection of personal data, initiated by the European Commission in 2012, is ongoing. After the “Consumers” (IMCO) Committee opinion vote in January, the “Industry” (ITRE) and “Employment” (EMPL) committees have just voted their opinion on the draft report of the “Civil Liberties” (LIBE) committee. All three of them, have voted to water down the safeguards protecting our privacy, as corporate lobbies had hoped, although most of the EMPL committee opinion focused on measures concerning work. As shown on La Quadrature's wiki [6] and by testimonies from MEPs [7], the lobbying pressure in the European Parliament from industrial actors has reached a state of unique intensity. As the lobbyplag.eu [8] website clearly shows, changes proposed by industry lobbyists are sometimes copy-pasted verbatim into amendments tabled by MEPs.
These victories of corporations that collect, process and trade data on citizens are alarming and anyone concerned about their rights and freedoms should learn more and act.

In ITRE committee, votes by the Members of the liberal ALDE group [9] helped amendments tabled by EPP and ECR conservatives to be adopted. Once more [10], these MEPs chose to support neutralising rules protecting citizens and adding vague and dangerous notions such as “pseudonimized data” [11] as well as measures allowing for more profiling of citizens and less constraints on careless companies [12].

The next step is the “Legal Affairs” (JURI) committee's opinion vote, led by ACTA's main proponent Marielle Gallo (France - EPP) and scheduled for the 18-19 March 2013. Following that, the main committee working on the Data Protection Directive, the “Civil Liberties (LIBE) Committee, led by Jan Philipp Albrecht (Germany - Greens/EFA), will vote on its report the 24-25th April 2013, taking into account the opinions expressed by the IMCO, ITRE, EMPL and JURI committees. The final LIBE committee report will call the whole European Parliament to vote during the first reading vote in plenary session, expected for the end of 2013. The further ahead this procedure moves, the less occasions citizens will have to reverse the current trend. They should therefore increase efforts to ensure that MEPs will finally vote to protect their rights.

* References *

1. https://www.laquadrature.net/en/us-corporations-win-against-privacy-in-eu-parliament-consumer-committee

2. https://www.laquadrature.net/en/eu-parliament-will-liberals-alde-weaken-privacy-in-industry-committee

3. Scheduled for the 18-19th March 2013

4. Scheduled for the 24-25th April 2013

5. https://piphone.lqdn.fr/

6. https://www.laquadrature.net/wiki/Lobbies_on_dataprotection

7. https://www.laquadrature.net/en/washingtonpost-us-firms-officials-resisting-europes-push-for-stronger-digital-privacy-rules

8. http://lobbyplag.eu/

9. Jürgen CREUTZMANN (Germany), Brian CROWLEY (Ireland),Fiona HALL (United Kingdom), Kent JOHANSSON (Sweden),Jens ROHDE (Vice-Chair - Denmark), Adina-Ioana VĂLEAN (Shadow Rapporteur - Romania).

10. https://www.laquadrature.net/en/important-victories-on-acta-moving-on-to-final-steps

11. This meaningless notion is used as an exception to privacy safeguards.

12. For a partial idea of what was adopted, look at a list of the “compromise amendments” on ITRE – all adopted –, that could not have been adopted without the votes of the ALDE group: https://www.laquadrature.net/wiki/ALDE_swing_votes_compromise_amendments_ITRE_data_protection 

** 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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