Reding to Merkel: give data protection “top priority”

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At a visit to Berlin on 6 September, Viviane Reding called upon the German government to support her plans for stricter rules on data protection. The call came two weeks in prior to the German elections and were critical of Germany’s Interior Minister, Hans-Peter Friedrich, who is responsible for data protection laws. According to Ms. Reding, “Ministers of Interior emphasise security over individual rights. That is why it is so important that Angela Merkel makes this her personal priority issue.” She continued by praising the German strict national data protection laws: “The German system could become the global system for data protection.”

During her visit to Berlin, Ms. Reding lashed out to the United Kingdom who would not support the proposal anyway. “I do not have time for pointless discussions” she was quoted. She aims at German and French support which would be sufficient for the majority which she needs.

The proposed data protection laws have the objective to fight illegal spy attacks by foreign intelligence services such as the NSA, which relied on information of web businesses. The reform installs significant fines – up to 2% of the revenues – if they are violating the law.

One day prior to Reding’s visit Peter Schaar, Germany’s Federal Data Protection Commissioner, uttered harsh criticism of Merkel’s handling of the PRISM scandal. He stated that the Interior Minister had blocked investigations and in reaction he filed an official complaint.

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