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March 19, 2013 | Peter Bradwell

Is the tide turning in the fight for our privacy rights?

The latest vote on the EU Data Protection Regulation suggests MEPs are starting to realise why privacy protections are important. We need your help now to get the message across.


This morning the Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) in the European Parliament voted on their opinion on the proposed Data Protection Regulation. This is the latest of four Committees to vote on the draft. 

There's good and bad news. On the one hand, the JURI opinion is better than the ones from previous Committees. The bad news is that it still proposes to weaken the Regulation and undermine our privacy rights.  In short, they proposed fewer of the changes to the Regulation that would really undermine our privacy rights. (We have written before about previous Committee votes. And we have produced a brief guide to the issues.)

Good bits from the JURI vote: 'Data portability', which would allow you to get your data from people who collect and use it, remained in the draft. The Committee also kept in some safeguards around profiling.

Bad bits: The Committee want companies to be able to profile people without their consent if they think it is in their own "legitimate interests". They also voted to allow companies to use data for purposes unrelated to those for which it was originally collected, again if they think it is in their "legitimate interest". That seriously undermines the control that people will have over how their personal information is used. 

More information is up on EDRi's write up of the vote

What you can do to help *now*

The vote today demonstrates that we are making some progress countering the huge amount of lobbying from data monopolies and the US government against the Regulation. 

But now we really need your help. The control that you have over your data is at stake. We need a Regulation that strengthens rights that help you decide how your information is used. We need stronger definitions of consent; the power to have data about us deleted; and the power to get our data back. But immense lobbying pressure from US data monopolies, the ad industry and the US government threatens to take these rights away.  

If you want the power to decide when and how information about you is used, please write to your MEP now.  The final and very important 'LIBE' Committee vote is soon. Writing to your MEP will help emphasise to them that people care about their privacy, and that the European Parliament should adopt a strong Regulation that enhances our rights.

Last year, we relied on the mobilisation of our supporters - for example your emails and phone calls - to convince MEPs to vote against ACTA. Your emails to your MEPs make a difference.  

You can easily write to your MEPs using our website

For more information on the key points, our brief guide to the issues is up here. If you have questions about what to say, or need to talk about a reply from your MEP, please do get in touch with me at peter@openrightsgroup.org

 

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