EU needs balancing act on Data Protection Regulation

EUThe EU is pushing for more privacy control with the EU Data Protection Regulation (DPR) in particular concerning consumer profiling (see bootnote). Should the ‘Internet’ allow consumers to decide where and how this profile data can be shared? Personally I believe it is our fundamental right to have control over the data we share (and in many instances, don’t share) but this can be viewed very differently.

A good example – an individual perspective on privacy is very different to that of a small to medium business. How can any privacy directive clearly differentiate here without impacting anindividuals privacy and/or a business’s revenue/growth?

Did you know? Only 14 percent of those interviewed by Ovum stated that they trusted companies with collection of personal data. Source: Ovum Survey, February 6th, 2013.

The EU DPR proposals look to introduce the “right to be forgotten” in law, forcing global companies to publish data breaches within a 24 hour window and giving regulators the power to fine companies as much as two percent of annual turnover. US lobbyists are none too happy either. Not all those in the US are unhappy with what the EU is proposing. Civl liberty groups on both sides of the Atlantic look like they are in full support. That said some prominent names are against the EU proposals.

Did you know? The EU’s ePrivacy Directive has changed its cookie policy to one of implied consent – this means websites can still ask for explicit consent for cookies – you may have seen this notice when you visit some websites. Not all websites are adhering to the EU ePrivacy Directive at time of writing.

Facebook and Google are unhappy with this proposal – both these services are free and you consent to your data being used for the privilege of using their services (we must not forget this, as these companies could not have survived without utilising the personal tracking behaviour data we provide). User tracking (i.e. cookies, ad-tracking) and the obvious costs aside, would the public and small-medium businesses warm to this sea of change? Right now the public would*, but small business probably not. Do all small-medium businesses actually take advantage of the personal data? In most instances businesses will be collecting personal data but have no plans to utilise, sell or rent to third-parties.

Did you know? *68 percent of Internet users would prefer their personal data to remain invisible. Source: Ovum Survey, February 6th, 2013.

What is absolutely clear is that the EU (including their respective governments) and US must find a way to balance personal and business interests when it comes to control of data. Right now, there are no simple answers to the growing problem of “data collection and sharing”.

Safe surfing folks!

Bootnote: The EU DPR is applicable to both desktop and mobile computing.

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