MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht on the future of Data Protection

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In an interview with a German newspaper Jan Philipp Albrecht, MEP for the Greens and the rapporteur on the data protection package, reflects on past developments and shares his views on the future of data protection and the EU.

For a young MEP – Germany’s youngest in the current EP – Mr. Albrecht looks back with satisfaction on his achievements concerning the Data Protection Regulation (DPR). He believes that after the enormous workload – about 4500 amendments were tabled – the current compromise is a good one. The need for a pan-European framework on data protection is necessary if every European citizen wants to be ensured of fundamental rights.

The influence of lobbyists has been significant, according to Mr. Albrecht. This is understandable, according to him: “these companies are not without reason the largest companies in the world, on the stock exchange they exceed companies like Danone or Volkswagen.”

The DPR is now being discussed in the Council of Ministers, which still seems to be far from the compromise that is necessary to get the proposal subjected to a vote before the current mandate of the European Parliament ends in May 2014. Mr. Albrecht praises the governments of France, Spain, Italy and Poland as they put clear effort in finalizing the dossier. The UK and Germany “unfortunately act as a break” on this issue. In case the DPR will not be voted on during the current legislation of the European Parliament, Mr. Albrecht believes that the new EP could “work on the basis of the old position [ed: the current proposal].”

Looking at the future, Mr. Albrecht believes that the European citizens should be educated about their dealings with privacy issues and the web. “We are at a turning point in history, comparable to the days when the Industrial Revolution was about to begin. The technological revolution will lead to enormous changes and they have to be guided in order for our democratic system to stay at the same pace.” In this process, both the public and the private sector have a stake in order to maintain citizens’ trust.

Ecommerce Europe supports the efforts of the European Parliament and the European Commission in reforming data protection as the old guidelines stem from 1995. Ecommerce Europe warns for disproportionate measures and seeks a fair and balanced approach between EU citizens’ rights and the interests of the ecommerce sector.

For the interview (German), please click here.

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