The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) has urged the German government to take the lead in pushing forward the reform of the EU rules on data protection.
Peter Hustinx made the call in the last speech of his mandate as EDPS in Bonn, Germany, on Thursday.
Hustinx said Germany claims a special responsibility and role in the area of data protection. The new German government can tackle this subject with the necessary drive and energy and thereby gain acceptance of the German position at European level and lead Europe to a higher level of data protection, according to him. "However, this will require a constructive and proactive approach in the European debate," he added.
The reformed EU rules on data protection will provide for clearer responsibilities for organizations and more consistency and uniformity in data protection across European online and traditional markets. It is, therefore, essential that progress is made quickly to thwart the attempts serving political and economic interests to restrict the fundamental rights to privacy and data protection.
In his speech on net neutrality in electronic communications, Hustinx said that it was both right and necessary to have a framework for it at European level because the internet is one of the most important means of cross-border economic and social exchange. However, the Commission proposal for a Regulation on electronic communications will unduly limit internet freedom because of the almost unlimited right the exceptions in the proposal give to providers to manage internet traffic.
The large-scale monitoring and restriction of users' internet communications made possible in the proposal are contrary to EU data protection legislation as well as the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. In a democratic society, users should be certain that their rights to privacy, confidentiality of their communications and protection of their personal information are respected. It is essential that these rights are not surrendered for the sake of convenience or through neglect.
The legislative process relating to the market for electronic communications and the reform of data protection, concern key components of the European value system and our understanding of freedom and democracy. Europe must continue to serve as an example to the rest of the world and Germany can play a key role in achieving this, Hustinx said.
The European Data Protection Supervisor is an independent supervisory authority devoted to protecting personal data and privacy and promoting good practice in the EU institutions and bodies.
by RTT Staff Writer
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