UK MEP wades into EU data row

A UK MEP has broken ranks to launch a stinging attack on the shake-up of European data laws, claiming many of the measures being put forward have no chance of support from fellow MEPs.
Liberal Democrat MEP for London Sarah Ludford has said that German MEP Jan Albrecht – who heads up the civil liberties committee (LIBE) – has used “unworkable or unclear language” in the draft new regime.
The UK MEP was commenting after Albrecht was quoted as saying that MEPs were going against commitments made in a previous resolution voted on by the Parliament by trying to “water down existing law”.  He also warned that a number of the amendments discussed and voted on would make the regulation weaker than the existing 1995 directive it is supposed to replace.
In an email response, which is also posted on her website, Ludford said she resented claims that she was “trying to weaken data protection rights”.
Ludford added: “The draft ‘compromises’ you are putting forward fail to reflect what you know to be the weight of opinion.
“I am just trying to ensure rigour and clarity in the text, essential for a directly applicable Regulation that is comprehensible and accessible for all parties. I am dismayed that you are stirring things up without justification.”
Ludford cited five examples of unworkable measures, including one on Albrecht’s proposed new laws on “legitimate interests”.
She said they contained a “weird combination of tight prescriptiveness in defining legitimate interest grounds but then puzzling latitude in allowing the data controller to override the fundamental rights of the data subject.”

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