Ludford: Lib Dems push for safeguards in new EU privacy rules

Baroness Sarah Ludford MEPThe European Parliament has today agreed its position on proposals for updated data protection rules for businesses, public authorities and police throughout the EU. Once the 28 EU governments reach their common position – hopefully by June – negotiations can take place to enshrine these in EU law.

MEPs are insisting that citizens should be given greater control over how their data is used, by strengthening consent requirements, regulating profiling and direct marketing, and ensuring the right to object and get data erased. They want fines of up to 5% of yearly turnover to sanction companies that break the rules. Liberal Democrats secured a shift from too much red tape to an approach focussed on rights and safeguards for real risks, and avoiding unnecessary restrictions on legitimate use of data for innovation and research.

Co-negotiator for the Liberal (ALDE) group in the European Parliament, LibDem MEP Sarah Ludford said:

“Data protection is a fundamental right, and citizens must be able to determine how and when their personal data is processed. The new EU rules, updated from a law 20 years old, are needed both to strengthen safeguards in a digital age and ensure consistent EU-wide ‘single market’ rules for the benefit of consumers as well as businesses.”

“Liberal Democrats have played a key role in securing a balanced text which will guarantee substantive privacy rights across Europe and tough sanctions for rule-breakers, but allow the legitimate and secure processing of data which is crucial for technical innovation and medical research.”

“Against the background of the Snowden revelations, I successfully pushed for the inclusion of a provision to protect European citizens data from being accessed by the NSA and other foreign intelligence services. I am delighted that Liberal Democrats at home are also acting to stop GCHQ conduct unwarranted mass surveillance.”

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