EU Seeks to Protect Citizens in Data “Jungle”
BRUSSELS (AFP) - The Facebook scandal has laid bare the urgency of protecting personal information in a digital “jungle,” the EU’s justice minister said before new European data rules become law.
In an interview with AFP, Vera Jourova said the scandal was a wake-up call for critics who had seen the European Union as too quick to regulate online data.
“It explained that we really are living in the kind of jungle where we are losing ourselves,” Jourova said in Brussels.
“We have been providing the information about our private life, about our identity, about the intimate things,” she said.
“It goes to the black box. And we don’t have a clue what is happening there, who can abuse it, who can sell it to somebody,” Jourova added.
They also have the right to know who is processing their information and for what purpose as well as to have information deleted.
Silicon Valley giants like Facebook, Google and Twitter as well as banks and public bodies will have to comply with the rules or face massive fines.
Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg himself conceded the GDPR’s importance after research firm Cambridge Analytica plundered the personal data of tens of millions of the social network’s users for the 2016 US presidential election.
Jourova said Zuckerberg’s support triggered an “efficient campaign” for the GDPR in a way that she would have been hard pressed to do herself.
She said the GDPR would have applied in the Cambridge Analytica case because it requires firms to obtain the explicit consent of users for their personal data. The case “really opened the eyes of many people who were criticising Europe being too paranoid, too overregulated,” she said.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) entering force on May 25 sets down the rights of individuals, such as one where they explicitly grant permission for their data to be used.