On Thursday 26th October, against the resistance of lobbies and major corporations, the European Parliament voted by majority to adopt a negotiating mandate, which, from the consumer’s point of view, shall significantly improve data protection.
The Report by MEP Marju Lauristin (S&D) was accepted this week with 310 Yes to 280 No votes (with 20 abstentions). The report declares among other that processing data should not be automatically permitted, unless a possible objection by consumers has been received (opt-out), but that users must expressly agree to any further use of their data (opt-in). At the same time, companies may not refuse access to their homepage or certain online services, if consumers do not agree to the automatic processing of their data.
The proposal by the Commission was discussed quite vigorously; however, as early as last week, the LIBE Committee of the European Parliament had developed a very progressive attitude towards the Report: against the EPP's resistance, the Committee has come out in favour of increased data protection as well as of the principle of “Privacy by Default” – software must set data protection automatically to default right from the start. These regulations mean an important success for data protectors and civil society.
The Chamber of Labour has adopted a clear position in respect of ePrivacy and demands, for example that location data may not be commercialised, that no automatic monitoring through so-called “tracking services” may be possible. The ability for organisations, which attend to consumer and data protection interests, to institute legal actions must be incorporated at European level. The already mentioned “Privacy by Default” is included in the AK’s list of demands.
Thanks to the vote, the European Parliament will enter the final trilogue negotiations with Council and Commission in a strengthened position.