The first vice-president of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, and the Commissioner of Justice and Consumers, Vera Jourova, present the proposal on the control of personal data, on April 23, 2018 in Brussels
Europeans will have an arsenal of new rules as of May 25 to „take control“ of their own personal data, a little-known measure until the outbreak of the global scandal that shook Facebook.
The European General Data Protection Regulation (RGPD) grants new individual rights and strict obligations for companies that collect or process personal information in the European Union (EU), regardless of where they are based.
Online trading pages, banks or even public bodies must comply with this new legislation, as well as large platforms such as Facebook, Google or Twitter for which the data represents a gold mine, especially for targeted advertising strategies.
„It’s your data, take control!“, Urges the European Commission in its „Guide for Citizens“, which collects the guarantees included in the RGPD against the unauthorized use of data, a practice at the heart of the recent scandal of Cambridge Analytica.
The controversial use of the data of tens of millions of Facebook users by this British company, implicated in the Donald Trump presidential campaign, quickly became a stroke of luck for the European authorities.
The Commissioner of Justice and Consumers, Vera Jourova, even gave a press conference the „thanks“ to the head of this social network, Mark Zuckerberg, after acknowledging that until then he had been looking for how to make the campaign to raise awareness of the new European legislation.
– ‚A kind of jungle‘ –
The scandal shows that „we really live in a kind of jungle, where we even lose ourselves,“ the commissioner explains in an interview with AFP, pleased to see how the European initiative is taken into account in the United States and convinced that the EU is creating international standards.
„Trust is an imperative, it takes years to build it, but it’s lost in a few seconds, it’s sad, but the digital giants have learned the lesson brutally,“ said PPE MEP (right) Viviane Reding.
This European excomisaria, which put on the table in 2012 the RGPD against the rejection of „pressure groups and national governments“, also celebrated that Europeans „fortunately“ have put in place laws „to restore confidence.“
Although they will enter into force on May 25, the new rules were adopted in 2016, with a period of two years for both countries and companies to prepare.
With the new regulation, citizens have a „right to know“ who treats their data and for what purpose, as well as with a right to oppose their treatment for commercial exploration purposes.
Europeans may also obtain the deletion of their data („right to be forgotten“) and they should be warned if there is an unauthorized access to their information, such as the one suffered in 2016 by the Uber company and that much more was revealed. late.
The use of data will require an explicit agreement from the user, especially in the case of minors, who must have the consent of the parents up to 16 years of age. Countries have room to reduce that limit to 13 years.
– ‚Excessive bureaucracy‘ –
If they do not respect these rules, companies are exposed to penalties of up to 20 million euros (23.9 million dollars) or 4% of their annual global turnover.
On the part of the companies, the platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram or Twitter began these last weeks to modify their conditions of use and communicate it to their users
The European authorities consider nevertheless that these new obligations will benefit the economic actors, as they will restore the confidence of consumers and put an end to a range of different national legislations.
All the countries of the EU have not yet adapted their legislation despite the two years at their disposal. According to the services of the Commission, eight countries will not be ready on May 25.
„This will create a period of uncertainty,“ regrets Commissioner Jourova, estimating that it is „negligence, not resistance“.
On the part of the companies, the platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram or Twitter began these last weeks to modify their conditions of use and communicate it to their users.
The RGPD seems to be more worrisome to small and measured companies. In Germany, the Chamber of Commerce expressed its concern that an „excessive bureaucracy“, added to the threats of sanctions, „creates reactions of distrust“ among SMEs.