Rights groups urge EU rethink

Rights groups urge EU rethinkA group of civil rights organisations has written an open letter to European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker urging him not to sanction the EU data protection reforms, claiming they will actually erode privacy rights.
While the much-revised EU General Data Protection Regulation has been welcomed by the direct and digital marketing industries, a coalition of more than 60 groups from across the globe have cried foul just as the laws reach the final furlong.
Last month, EU chiefs were accused of “ripping the guts” out of the changes, after it was revealed many of the most stringent proposals – including consent for marketing data and online tracking – had been watered down.
The new letter suggests that a failure to follow the work of former justice minister Viviane Reding and the 2012 promise of modernisation and reform would put the EC in breach of recognised fundamental rights.
“The undersigned organisations, NGOs from the European Union and around the globe, are deeply concerned at the changes to the data protection reform package being made in the Council of the European Union,” said the letter.
Signatories include the UK’s Open Rights Group, Liberty, the Dutch Consumer Council and the US Electronic Privacy Information Centre.
Given the strength of their feeling, some observers fear that privacy groups will not go down without a fight, raising the prospect of legal challenges to the reforms before they are passed later this year.

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