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Strata Week: EU’s proposed data reforms spark “unprecedented” US lobbying

Controversy surrounds EU's data reforms, an investigation into "data-ism," and geeks fighting for our civil liberties.

EU’s data protection reforms could “instigate a trade war”

Ars Technica’s Cyrus Farivar took a look this week at the European Commission’s proposed reform to existing data protection laws. Farivar highlights some of the major changes the proposed reform would bring:

“The data protection reforms as proposed by the Commission would consolidate existing data protection rules, would require data breach notification within 24 hours, and would include a ‘right to be forgotten,’ allowing citizens to ‘delete their data if there are no legitimate grounds for retaining it.'”

The reform would facilitate data portability as well, Farivar notes, making it easier to transfer personal data from LinkedIn to Facebook, for instance, and could impose fines from 1% to 4% of global revenues for companies held in violation of the EU rules.

The proposed reform has ignited quite a controversy. Farivar looks at a draft response (PDF) to the proposed reform legislation published in January by Jan Philip Albrecht, a Green Party member of the European Parliament, that has “ruffled some feathers,” further expanding data protection rights beyond what the EU Commission proposed. Farivar also looks at the role members from the Pirate Party are playing in the debate, and the response from U.S. officials.

Farivar reports that U.S. Foreign Service economic officer John Rodgers noted in a speech in Berlin (Google Translate) “that a vast right to delete such personal information was not technically feasible and would pose a huge problem for all globally minded companies” and he “warned that the data protection reform as currently conceived could ‘instigate a trade war.'”

“[L]obbying pressure from American government representatives and their corporate allies is intensifying at an unprecedented level,” Farivar reports. Joe McNamee, executive director of European Digital Rights, told Farivar that “[n]othing, not even ACTA, caused the U.S. to lobby on this scale in Brussels.” You can read Farivar’s full report at Ars Technica.

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