EU plans to give online users the right to delete their data at any time have been called into question by Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, who claims they would be virtually unenforceable.
The plans are part of EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding’s proposals for a revised EU Data Protection Directive. It has been claimed they could “wreak havoc” with the online powerhouses including Google and Facebook.
But Vaizey said: “In principle, we support the idea that consumers should have more control over the processing of their data. And of course we support greater transparency.
“But we also need to be clear about the practicalities of any regulation. For example, how do we enforce the ‘right to be forgotten’ when data can be copied and transferred across the globe in an instant?
“No government can guarantee that photos shared with the world will be deleted by everyone when someone decides it’s time to forget that drunken night-out. We should not give people false expectations.”
Vaizey also questioned proposals to make non-EU based companies subject to the new data protection laws if they stored EU citizens’ data in “the cloud”.
“We need to be aware that questions of liability could jeopardise the ability of European firms to use the cloud for data processing and storage. We should question the logic of trying to make firms outside of the EU subject to EU law,” he said.
New laws threaten online ‘havoc’