Statement by Vivianne Reding, European Commissioner For Justice:
Our Charter of Fundamental Rights and our Treaty make it clear that everyone has the right to the protection of personal data. This right is particularly important in today’s world – a world in which rapid technological changes allow people to share personal information publicly and globally on an unprecedented scale.
While social networking sites and photo sharing services have brought dramatic changes to how we live, new technologies have also prompted new challenges. It’s now more difficult to detect when our personal data is being collected. Sophisticated tools allow the automatic collection of data. This data is then used by companies to better target individuals. Public authorities are also using more and more personal data for a wide variety of purposes, including the prevention and fight against terrorism and serious crime.
The question today is how the Commission will ensure that privacy rights are put into action. I am a firm believer in the necessity of enhancing individuals’ control over their own data.
Peoples’ rights need to be built on four pillars:
The first is the “right to be forgotten”: a comprehensive set of existing and new rules to better cope with privacy risks online. When modernising the legislation, I want to explicitly clarify that people shall have the right – and not only the “possibility” – to withdraw their consent to data processing. The burden of proof should be on data controllers – those who process your personal data. They must prove that they need to keep the data rather than individuals having to prove that collecting their data is not necessary.
The second pillar is “transparency”. It is a fundamental condition for exercising control over personal data and for building trust in the Internet.
Read more of her statement on eGov Monitor. Have you guessed the other two pillars? They’re “privacy by default” and “protection regardless of data location.”
Did I mention I like the way she thinks about much of this?