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US & European companies concerned about effects & costs of proposed EU data protection law

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14 May 2013

ICO Concerned Over ‘Guesswork’ Surrounding EU Data Privacy Laws

Author: Tom Brewster, TechWeekEurope (UK)

The UK’s data protection watchdog has yet again raised concerns over controversial privacy laws drawn up in Brussels...The ICO is particularly worried about “guesswork” guiding the proposals, which include provisions to fine companies two percent of annual turnover...The regulator and the British government are engaged in a campaign to limit the eventual European rules, much to the dismay of privacy campaigners who want them imposed...The ICO said its latest data showed businesses were unsure of their obligations under the proposals, nor could they ascertain what the associated costs would be..."[B]usinesses and other stakeholders need to constructively engage with the debate about burdens and the importance of privacy rights, while the process can still be influenced” [said UK information commissioner Christopher Graham]...Privacy advocates, who backed the original proposals, are concerned that large companies with a vested interest, such as Amazon, eBay and Facebook, will succeed in watering down the proposals through lobbying power.

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13 May 2013

Firms Brace for New European Data Privacy Law

Author: Kevin J. O'Brien, New York Times

The effort in Europe to adopt the world’s strongest data protection law has drawn the attention of dozens of lobbyists from U.S. technology and advertising companies...Facebook, Apple, Google, Amazon and I.B.M., individually and through industry groups, have all sought to actively participate in a legislative process that could give half a billion consumers the right to withhold basic personal details while using the Web...The measures would prohibit the use of a range of standard Web tracking and profiling practices that companies use to produce targeted advertising, unless consumers gave their explicit prior consent. The bill would also grant European consumers a fundamental new right: data portability...“There is an expectation that data protection laws around the world are going to become more stringent, and Europe is leading the way,” [said Justin Cornish, a lawyer at Latham & Watkins in Dubai.] [Also refers to Amway (part of Alticor), Aon, BMW, Daimler, European Aeronautics Defense & Space, ExxonMobil, Facebook, Google, Hogan Lovells, Latham & Watkins, Procter & Gamble, Rovio Entertainment, Taylor Wessing, UBS]

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2 May 2013

Q&A on EU data protection reform

Author: European Parliament

The growing globalisation of data flows, via social networks, cloud computing, search engines, location-based services, etc, arguably increases the risk that people could lose control of their own data. MEPs are debating a major overhaul of current EU data protection rules which aims to put people in control of their personal data and to build trust both in social media and in online shopping and communication in general...The new rules will update the principles enshrined in existing legislation and apply them to the new online environment, so as to ensure effective protection of the fundamental right to data protection and improve certainty as to the law for companies.

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23 April 2013

Civil rights coalition says EU data protection bill threatens citizens' rights

Author: Jennifer Baker, International Data Group News Service

Some of the proposed changes to Europe's data protection laws would strip citizens of their privacy rights, a coalition of international civil liberties organizations said...The civil liberties coalition...presented a report based on their analysis of the proposed amendments. "Among the thousands of amendments tabled are a large number that threaten to severely weaken privacy rights in the U.K.," the report said. "These damaging amendments are largely the result of an unprecedented lobbying storm by big U.S. tech companies, the U.S. government and the advertising industry."...Privacy advocates want to see the burden of proof shifted from consumers justifying why data should be deleted to businesses having to prove why it should be kept..."Without effective privacy protection, our personal lives are laid bare, to be used and abused by business and governments," said Joe McNamee of European Digital Rights and spokesperson of the coalition. [Refers to Amazon, eBay and the US Chamber of Commerce]

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