There have been a number of recent developments related to the European Commission’s (EC’s) proposed Data Protection Regulation. For example, last week, one parliamentary committee announced that its vote on the Regulation will have to be delayed because the committee has received thousands of proposed amendments; another parliamentary committee adopted an opinion generally endorsing the Regulation; and the French Minister of Justice stated that France “actively supports” the data protection reform.
EU Parliament Committee Delays Vote on Data Protection Regulation
The European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice, and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE), Parliament’s lead committee addressing the EC’s proposed Data Protection Regulation, has announced that its vote on the proposed Regulation has been moved to May 29–30. The vote was originally scheduled for April. Jan Albrecht, lead negotiator for LIBE, said that extra time is needed to address the more than 3,000 amendments to the proposed Regulation that have been offered to date. In spite of the large number of proposed amendments, Albrecht believes that the European Parliament will be able to reach a consensus on the proposed Regulation before the summer and that Parliament and the European Council will be able to agree upon and ratify a data protection reform package by early 2014.
Committee Adopts Opinion on Proposed Data Protection Regulation
On March 19, the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) adopted its opinion supporting the proposed Data Protection Regulation. The author of JURI’s opinion, MEP Marielle Gallo, stated that the adoption of the EC’s proposal is “a result of a constructive dialogue between the Centre-Right, the Greens, and some Socialists.” Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the EC and EU Justice Commissioner, said that JURI’s adoption of the measure brings the EU “another step towards the swift adoption of modern data protection reform in Europe.”
JURI backed the EC’s proposals to eliminate the use of implicit consent mechanisms as grounds for legitimating the processing of personal data and maintain an “extended definition of personal data” that would include IP addresses. The committee endorsed the proposed Regulation’s creation of a system that would allow data protection authorities to penalize organizations that do not comply with data protection laws by issuing fines of up to 2% of organizations’ global turnover. And JURI approved of the EC’s “one-stop-shop” model under which organizations will have to deal only with the data protection authorities in the EU countries in which the organizations have their main establishments.
Ms. Gallo called for the creation of incentives for the encryption of personal data. She also said that profiling should be forbidden if it discriminates based on information about an individual’s ethnicity, religious background, or sexual preference.
JURI adopted the opinion in a 14-6 vote, with one abstention. The opinion will be submitted to LIBE, and LIBE will consider JURI’s opinion along with the opinions received from three other Parliament committees when it votes on the proposed Regulation this spring.
France Supports Proposed Regulation
When asked by a member of parliament what the government intends to do to protect the “right to be forgotten,” the French Minister of Justice responded that France “actively supports” the proposed Regulation, including its provision on the right to be forgotten. The Minister said that France will be vigilant that the Regulation will “not introduce a step backwards” from current French law. While the French data protection authority has been vocal in its support of the substantive rules contained in the proposed Regulation, the French government has so far been relatively silent. The Minister’s statement was published on March 21, 2013.