U.S. Advocates Support EU Privacy Regulation Changes

Sep 6, 2012 15:57:24Posted by John Skorick, MyAKA Founder & CEO

U.S. Advocates Support EU Privacy Regulation Changes

The European Union is currently discussing changes to the EU data privacy guidelines, and internet privacy advocates in the U.S. are in favor of strengthening the regulations. According to the National Journal, EU commission officials recently proposed updating the EU General Data Protection Regulation first enacted in 1995.

The original guidelines were put in place as a directive, but many want to see them upgraded to regulations that EU states must adhere to in order to protect the internet privacy of its citizens. Those who are calling for modifications are also hoping to alter the meaning of personal information and give consumers a "right to be forgotten" that companies will be required to offer should consumers discontinue services, the news source indicates. American advocates believe the new regulations will have a positive impact on a global scale. U.S. companies that do business in Europe will be directly affected by any changes made to the policy, which could in turn lead to changes in American privacy policies.

"We believe that the promotion of privacy standards in Europe will benefit consumers around the globe, as businesses improve their privacy practices and security standards," reads a letter from 22 U.S. privacy and consumer groups, IT World reports.

In addition to voicing their support for the motion, advocacy groups have also pinpointed portions of the changes that could be problematic on a global scale. The Journal reported that the groups requested that the EU make it impossible for companies to use blanket approvals for data collection. They also made a case for limiting the ability for businesses to find loopholes that exempt them from the new regulations.

Many businesses and some government officials in the EU and U.S. have raised concerns that the proposed changes are too strict. Thomas Boue, the European Director of Government Affairs for the Business Software Alliance, explained that he felt stricter regulations would be too imposing on businesses and potentially hinder their ability to grow and create jobs.

The EU proposal is not unlike an internet privacy bill of rights introduced by the Obama administration earlier this year. The National Journal indicated that the American proposal would require businesses to disclose information about their privacy practices to consumers. It would also give individuals more control over what data companies are able to collect about them as well as access to this collected information.