Data protection: New rules at risk to be blocked by centre-right MEPs

US NSA surveillance programme, surveillance bodies in various member states and impact on EU citizens' fundamental rights

Next week in Strasbourg the European Parliament will vote on the outcome of a parliamentary inquiry on the NSA surveillance scandal and on stricter rules on data protection, however their entry into force may be threatened by the persistent opposition of centre-right MEPs.
 
Against the position of the EP committee on civil liberties, justice and home affairs on the suspension of the EU-US exchange of bank data (Swift agreement), a majority of EPP members is expected to block the new privacy rules in order to preserve the transfer of data to Washington.
 
S&D Claude Moraes, who led the EP inquiry on the NSA scandal, said:
 
"The EPP should think carefully before voting against any of the important data reports, next week, as this will present the European Parliaments position to the EU governments on these crucial European citizens' issues.
 
"I urge the EPP to look at the big picture here and understand the importance of these reports, given that we are calling on the European Council to implement the data package and that the NSA Inquiry report looks to the future of the digital agenda".
 
S&D Dimitrios Droutsas, EP rapporteur new legislation on transfer of data, said:
 
"The European Parliament should not be the one to abandon the 'package approach' or even more so the one which would 'kill' the Data Protection Directive, facilitating in this way the intention of some governments to avoid such legislative measures. It is high time everyone took their share of responsibility towards the European citizen, who expects the obvious from us: the best possible protection of personal data and their fundamental rights."

S&D Vice-president Sylvie Guillaume said:

"Data protection and consumer privacy have become a major issue in today's digitalized world. For almost two years, Socialist and Democrats have worked hard to ensure that citizens' rights are upheld.

"We very much welcome the results obtained despite the pressure of important lobbying. The move towards new EU data protection laws has also been influenced by the revelations made on the NSA massive surveillance program.

"This is why I would like to warn the EPP against an unjustifiable rejection of the data protection directive for law enforcement purposes, which can only be seen as a purely election-minded reaction and that will, in no way, help the Europe of rights to progress".

The new draft rules on data protection are expected to strengthen EU citizens' privacy by replacing the old legislation adopted in 1995, when Internet users were only less than 1%.