Leaked documents show European data protection reform is badly broken


Today, leading digital rights organizations — including Access, EDRi, Privacy International, and Panoptykon — published new leaked documents showing that European Union member states are working to undermine the right to personal data protection for citizens.


In January 2012, the European Commission proposed a regulation to modernise and reform European privacy legislation that was amended and accepted by the European Parliament in 2014. The update is urgently needed due to the challenges of new technology. From online profiling, to the digitisation of health data and online tracking — every corner of our lives is increasingly being invaded by “big data.” Corporations and governments know more about our own preferences, our motivations, our health, our relationships and our politics than our closest friends, family or even ourselves.

Dangerous negotiations

Now, after more than three years of negotiations, the EU awaits the final deliberations by its 28 member states, represented in the Council of the EU, to come up with amendments to the proposed reform. However, the leaked proposals (found at the end of this post) strip Europe’s citizens of a meaningful right to data protection. Crucial privacy protections have been drastically undermined, including the right to be asked for consent for the use of your data, the right to know how your data is used, and the right to object to the use of your data.

Not content with destroying key elements of the reform proposal, EU Member States are even introducing text that would likely not pass judicial scrutiny under Europe’s human rights framework. We urge the Council to amend its position, publish the leaked documents, and issue a short analysis. The EU Data protection reform effort will be worthless if the final result falls beneath the standards we already have in place the EU today.

Detailed analysis by Access, EDRi, Panoptykon Foundation, and Privacy International may be found here.

You can read Access’s press release here.

The leaked documents may be found here:

Council text on the One-stop-shop mechanism from 25.02.2015 here

Council text on the Right to be forgotten – Dispute settlement from 09.02.2015 here

Council text on Further processing, consent from 26.02.2015 here

Council text on Information and right to object from 26.02.2015 here

Comparison of European Parliament’s first reading text with Council proposal here


Image, courtesy of EDRi