, , , ,



EFF.org by Aylin Akturk and Jeremy Malcolm

Europe is very close to the finishing line of an extraordinary project: the adoption of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a single, comprehensive replacement for the 28 different laws that implement Europe’s existing 1995 Data Protection Directive. More than any other instrument, the original Directive has created a high global standard for personal data protection, and led many other countries to follow Europe’s approach. Over the years, Europe has grown ever more committed to the idea of data protection as a core value. In the Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, legally binding on all the EU states since 2009, lists the “right to the protection of personal data” as a separate and equal right to privacy. The GDPR is intended to update and maintain that high standard of protection, while modernising and streamlining its enforcement.

The battle over the details of the GDPR has so far mostly been a debate between advocates pushing to better defend data protection, against companies and other interests that find consumer privacy laws a hindrance to their business models. Most of the compromises between these two groups have now already been struck.

But lost in that extended negotiation has been another aspect of public interest. By concentrating on privacy, pro- or con-, the GDPR as it stands has omitted sufficient safeguards to protect another fundamental right: the right to freedom of expression, “to hold opinions and to receive and impart information… regardless of frontiers”.

It seems not to have been a deliberate omission. In their determination to protect the personal information of users online, the drafters of the GDPR introduced provisions that streamline the erasure of such information from online platforms—while neglecting to consider those who published that information to those platforms who were exercising their own human right of free expression in doing so, and their audiences who have the right to receive such information. Almost all digital rights advocates missed the implications, and corporate lobbyists didn’t much care about the ramifications….

Read full article

Eff.org publishes its content under (CC BY 3.0 US).