Enhancing privacy – Proposed amendments to data protection directive

The Commission is currently reviewing the data protection directive 95/46/EC. Here are some ideas on how directive 95/46 should be amended:

  • Recital 26 says: „whereas, to determine whether a person is identifiable, account should be taken of all the means likely reasonably to be used either by the controller or by any other person to identify the said person“. This should be made a „shall“ (not „should“) and should be in the text of the directive (not just a recital).
  • A right of action for consumer and privacy associations should be introduced where the right to privacy is violated (Directive 98/27 on injunctions for the protection of consumers‘ interests should be extended to mention the data protection directive)
  • A right of action for competitors should be introduced where the right to privacy is violated by a business (Directive 2005/29 concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices should be extended accordingly)
  • A privacy by design principle should be introduced. The design of commercial information technology products must default to conformity with privacy legislation (e.g. web server software)
  • Manufacturers should be liable where unsafe technology leads to data protection breaches. Product liability law should cover data breaches caused by unsafe information technology products (directive 85/374 on the liability for defective products should be extended to cover data safety)
  • The entity processing the data should be liable for data protection breaches regardless of fault, and a fixed minimium compensation payment for victims of data loss should be established (200 Euros?).
  • It should be prohibited to disadvantage citizens who choose to exercise their rights conferred in the directive (exercising them often leads to the termination of the contract).
  • A right to use any information society service anonymously should be introduced.
  • A right to public information on data breaches should be included in directive 95/46.
  • Article 10 of the directive should be amended so that the retention period must be revealed (for how many years will the information retained?).
  • Consenting clauses concerning personal data must be subject to judicial review (Directive 93/13 of 5 April 1993 on unfair terms in consumer contracts should be extended)

Some of these proposals are explained in more detail in a presentation (Video) and in a document in German (pdf).

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