The “Right to Be Forgotten” in the EU


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eu privacyThe EU plans to legally limit online personal data collection to “the minimum necessary” for websites to provide their services and require “transparent disclosure” on what, how, and where information is stored and used.  As Digital Trends’ Geoff Duncan put it, “While much of the rest of the world is concerned with the complexity of Facebook’s privacy settings—if they’re concerned at all—the EU is working to define individuals rights to access, delete, or modify personal data as a ‘essential right’ in the digital world.”

On November 4, the European Union released its comprehensive strategy and key objectives on how it plans to revise the rules governing personal data collection in the EU.  The Commission’s first key goal:

“Strengthen[] individuals’ rights so that the collection and use of personal data is limited to the minimum necessary.  Individuals should also be clearly informed in a transparent way on how, why, by whom, and for how long their data is collected and used.  People should be able to give their informed consent to the processing of their personal data, for example when surfing online, and should have the “right to be forgotten” when their data is no longer needed or they want their data to be deleted.”‘

Members of the EU Commission have also explicitly accepted the idea that “protection of personal data is a fundamental right.”

The problems the EU is facing in the digital privacy realm are identical to those in the United States.  Just as the US’s online privacy legislation is stunted by the ancient Electronic Communications Privacy Act, so too are the EU’s data protection laws governed by an outdated piece of legislation, the Data Protection Directive, which the Commission is working to update with the upcoming legislation.  Additionally, across both the US and the EU, privacy protection laws are being interpreted and implemented inconsistently.  Like the varying interpretations across our States, the EU Commission recognizes that “[c]urrent differences in implementing EU data protection rules and a lack of clarity about which [European] country’s rules apply harm the free flow of personal data within the EU and raise costs.”  Further, both the US’s Federal Trade Commission and the EU Commission for Justice, Fundamental Rights & Citizenship have been working on this issue for years, arranging for public comment and input before the passage of regulations.

Through its Privacy Suite add-on and DeleteMe service, Abine gives users the ability to navigate the Internet without worry that their personal privacy is at stake.  Regardless the state of the law, what country you’re in, or your own online privacy beliefs, our tools give you the power to control the distribution and use of your personal information so that you can navigate safely.  The pending legislation is a step in the right direction, but why not take control now?  With Privacy Suite and DeleteMe, your personal information is under your control.

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