The US has very successfully and expertly lobbied against the [EU] data protection package directly, it has mobilised and supported US industry lobbying. US industry has lobbied in its own name and mobilised malleable European trade associations to lobby on their behalf to amplify their message, “independent” “think tanks” have been created to amplify their message again. The result is not just the biggest lobbying effort that Brussels has ever seen, but also the broadest. Compliant Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and EU Member States […] have been imposing a “death by a thousand cuts” on the Regulation. Where previously there was a clear obligation to collect the “minimum necessary” data for any given service, the vague requirement to retain “not excessive” data is now preferred. Where previously companies could only use data for purposes that were “compatible” with the original reason for collecting the data, the Irish EU Presidency (pdf) has proposed a comical definition of “compatible” based on five elements, only one of which is related to the dictionary definition of the word. Members of the European Parliament and EU Member States are falling over themselves to ensure that the EU does not maintain its strategic advantage over the US. In addition to dismantling the proposed Regulation, countries like the UK desperately seek to delay the whole process and subsume it into the EU-US free trade agreement (the so-called “investment partnership” TTIP/TAFTA), which would subordinate a fundamental rights discussion in a trade negotiation. The UK government is even prepared to humiliate itself by arguing in favour of the US position on the basis that two and a half years (see Communication from 2010, pdf) of discussion is too fast!
Links for 2013-06-11
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