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.

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