The spam presidency. As European citizens are made the miserable targets of unimpeded “direct marketing”, that may be how Ireland’s stint in the EU presidency seat is recalled for years to come. Under the guiding hand of Minister for Justice Alan Shatter, the Council of the European Union has submitted proposals for amendments to a proposed new data protection regulation, all of which overwhelmingly favour business and big organisations, not citizens. The most obviously repugnant and surprising element in the amendments is a watering down of existing protections for EU citizens against the willy-nilly marketing Americans are forced to endure. In the US there are few meaningful restrictions on what businesses can do with people’s personal information when pitching products and services at them. In the EU, this has always been strictly controlled; information gathered for one purpose cannot be used by a business to sell whatever it wants – unless you have opted in to receive such solicitations. This means you are not constantly bombarded by emails and junk mail, nor do you get non-stop phone calls from telemarketers. Under the proposed amendments to the draft data protection regulation, direct marketing would become a legal form of data processing. In effect, this would legitimise spam email, junk print mail and marketing calls. This unexpected provision signals just how successful powerful corporate lobbyists have been in convincing ministers that business matters more than privacy or giving citizens reasonable control over their personal information. Far worse is contained in other amendments, which in effect turn the original draft of the regulation upside down.Fantastic article from Karlin Lillington in today’s Times on the terrible amendments proposed for the EU’s data protection law.
Links for 2013-06-13
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