Recent developments at the European Parliament have proven to be a key milestone for the European Commission's data protection reform. Parliamentary support is now ensured for vital legislation
which will mean individuals have much better control over their own personal data.
The legislation is set to enable greater data protection and privacy for European citizens, and will address a number of key consumer trust issues. According to the Flash Eurobarometer, nine out of ten Europeans (92%) say they are concerned about mobile
apps collecting their data without their consent, while seven in ten are concerned about the potential use that companies and organisations may make of the information disclosed within this data.
With clear evidence of consumer demand for better control over data privacy, EU data protection reform will help consumers feel more confident about how their personal data is treated, particularly online. The European Commission has identified four essential
components to making this work in practice:
- A right to be forgotten: When an individual no longer want their data to be processed and there are no legitimate grounds for retaining it, the data will be deleted.
- Easier access to your own data: A right to data portability will make it easier for the individual to transfer personal data between service providers.
- Putting the individual in control: When consent is required to process data, the individual must be asked to give it explicitly, it should not be assumed.
- Data protection first, not an afterthought: ‘Privacy by design’ and ‘privacy by default’ will also become essential principles in EU data protection rules. This means that data protection safeguards should be built into products and services from
the earliest stage of development, and that privacy-friendly default settings should be the norm – for example on social networks.
The European Parliament is sending a clear message that comprehensive and uncompromising data privacy legislation is necessary, and we can expect the EU to be relentless in the pursuit of this objective. In fairness, as individuals, we have a right to know
what information is being held about us, and to expect that the companies and organisations holding information about us will do everything possible to protect the integrity of our personal data and our privacy. Sadly this clearly hasn’t always been the case,
as the shocking data breach headlines and revelations of data abuse over the past months confirm.
A fundamental shift is underway and those businesses whose raison d’être is “big data”, or who have invested heavily in such strategies at the expense of the citizen, will surely rail at the consequences of the proposed legislation changes. Digging in and
hiding behind “big data” measures in the pretext of ensuring security will find little support in the corridors of the European Parliament.
It’s time for change, and for business to take more note of this. It’s time to stop paying lip service and start investing in truly innovative technology which shows that privacy doesn’t has to be sacrificed for security and ease of use. It is possible
to have the highest level of security and total privacy for the individual,
something that we at ValidSoft have been saying for a number of years now.
With the new legislation on its way, it’s likely that software vendors and service providers, especially in the financial services arena, will be increasingly required to prove their compliance with the legislation through formal certification. A European
Privacy Seal (EuroPriSe), the certification benchmark within Europe, will now become a much more essential component for new IT and payments solutions seeking to win consumer trust, as these seals are awarded only to technologies that meet the highest standards
This new legislation will give consumers confidence that their data is being protected and that they have the power to make their own decisions about how it is used. It’s an exciting time for the technology and security industries, and I will watch with
anticipation to see how the legislation develops.