The Government has reaffirmed its opposition to the “right to be forgotten” – included in the proposed new EU data laws – arguing that Britain should be able to opt out of the legislation.
The policy, part of the EU’s planned General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), would require large online organisations, such as Facebook and Google, to delete users’ personal details upon request.
It is designed to put control of personal data, predominately on social media, back in the hands of individuals, rather than organisations, but the Government claims it will lead to unrealistic expectations about the way data is used. It first expressed concerns over the proposals nearly 18 months ago.
Negotiations over the new legislation are ongoing, although they have entered the crucial final stages, with MEPs set to pass judgment on more than 3,000 amendments.
EC justice commissioner Viviane Reding – the architect of the proposed shake up – told The Guardian: “This piece of legislation is one of the biggest market-openers of the last few years. It eliminates 27 conflicting rules [one for each EU state] and replaces them with … a mechanism for the whole continent. This means saving €2.3bn (£1.9bn) a year.
“[But] the British government have asked us not to do this and [would prefer] two laws: one for Britain and one for other people, meaning there would be separate layers of complication.
“I have exchanged letters with [UK justice secretary] Chris Grayling on this, which is rather like Kafka. Britain is meant to oppose red tape; here Britain wants a supplementary layer of red tape. It’s crazy. The UK wants 27 rules – one for each country.”
The Ministry of Justice said in a statement: “The UK does not support the right to be forgotten as proposed by the European Commission. The title raises unrealistic and unfair expectations of the proposals.”
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