Ludford: EU privacy law – Liberals achieve good balance

Baroness Sarah Ludford MEPCo-negotiator for the Liberal group in the European Parliament (ALDE) and Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford has welcomed an MEP compromise agreement on the new EU Data Protection Regulation to be voted on in the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties committee later today.

Sarah Ludford said:

I’m extremely proud of the crucial leading role played by Liberal Democrats in securing a balanced text which will both guarantee substantive privacy rights across Europe and permit technological innovations that benefit customers.”

“The end result is very different to either of the extremes we faced: reams of prescriptive bureaucracy from one side and a desire to allow businesses free rein on the other.

“Liberals successfully strove for a risk-based approach to prevent cumbersome and worthless procedural requirements, while insisting on strict safeguards against unwarranted surveillance and the possibility of tough sanctions for rule-breakers.”

Liberal MEPs supported fines of up to 5% of yearly turnover for companies that break the new rules – compared to 2% in the Commission’s original proposal – to ensure that data controllers comply with data protection standards.

Liberals successfully insisted on a number of key privacy protections in opposition to other political groups, including the Greens and their lead negotiator Jan Albrecht, including:

- That the so-called ‘anti-FISA’ clause, to protect against third country court orders by secret services, should cover European citizens’ data not only still on EU territory but already transferred to servers e.g. in the United States.

- That the scope of possible assertion of “legitimate interests” be narrowed

- That citizens’ fundamental rights should never be overridden by claims that it is in the “legitimate interests” of an organisation to process their data

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