Data Protection: Commissioner Reding marches on


On 7 October 2013 the Justice Ministers from the Member States will be joining Vice-President Viviane Reding to resume debate on the Data Protection Regulation (DPR). Since Edward Snowden’s revelations known as the PRISM scandal, a strong response is formulated that aims to protect the data of EU citizens. This response is being prepared in the shape of the Data Protection Regulation, which is currently under revision by the European Parliament after the European Commission submitted its draft proposal.

During a data protection conference in September 2013, Viviane Reding held a speech stating that trust has been damaged. The trust that is referred to has multiple aspects: 92% of the Europeans have issued concerns that data from mobile applications is collected without their consent, and 89% of the European citizens signaled that they want to be informed in case data is being shared with a third party. Moreover, the PRISM scandal comes at a politically sensitive timing as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – also known under its acronym as TTIP – is in the negotiation stages.

Vice-President Reding continued by stipulating the economic value of data which is stored on cloud servers. EU citizens’ data were worth € 315 billion in 2011, according to the Commission’s figures. The draft regulation on data protection will have a significant impact on the American providers of cloud services: Microsoft would suffer a € 22 billion loss, Google’s losses will account for € 35 billion – according to the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

Commissioner Reding argues that the Data Protection Regulation will ease the nerves of European citizens: as mentioned earlier, a high percentage of Europeans want to know who has access to data and also what is done with it. “Lobbyists opposed to the reform have run out of arguments” Reding concluded her speech with. She urged everyone to look ahead: a more secure framework than the Safe Harbour Agreement will be in place between the Europeans and Americans, supposedly securing data transfers by EU companies to the United States.