Latin American Civil Liberties groups urge MEPs to protect privacy
10:05am | 28 May 2013 | by Raegan MacDonald,
Today, civil liberties groups from across Latin America sent a letter (click here to read an English translation) to the European Parliament, urging the lead Committee working on the Data Protection Regulation to protect the privacy of citzens in the EU and around the world.
The groups expressed their full support for the efforts of the European Commission to update, harmonise, and strengthen current data protection laws on the European continent. The letter also calls attention to the unprecedented lobbying efforts against the Regulation, and urges the Committee members to stand strong and uphold their role as global standard setters.
[In its current form] ...the Regulation will further the trend to encourage countries and companies around the world to improve their privacy standards, thereby improving free speech and democracy globally. We need strong, harmonised data protection standards in order to protect our right to informational self-determination and foster trust among consumers and Internet users.
In particular, the groups underlined four key elements that must be addressed in the deliberations on the Regulation:
- The protection of all personal information, including no dilution through "pseudonymisation" of data;
- Recognition that every European citizen has the right to effectively control his or her personal information (including explicit consent, data portability);
- Avoid dangerous loopholes that will undermine the effectiveness of the Regulation (such as the “legitimate interest” as a legal grounds for processing);
- Strong protection against secretive profiling of citizens, both on- and offline.
Several countries around the world (including many from Central and South America) have historically drawn from the EU, passing legislation modeled after the current data protection framework. If Europe passes new legislation, it will no doubt be seen as a similar source of inspiration; as such, the Regulation cannot be diluted by powerful lobby interests. As the groups conclude: “now, more than ever, we are looking to Europe to continue its legacy as a global standard setter.”
The Regulation is currently being debated in the European Parliament, with a vote approaching in July. Now is the time to let representatives know how important it is to protect privacy. Want to help? Send an email to the Parliament, or go to nakedcitizens.eu to send a postcard or call an MEP and urge them to protect the privacy of European citizens and the global internet community.