EU Commissioner Reding: The new EU DP framework is not just about consent

The EU Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, Viviane Reding, says that while explicit consent is one of the cornerstones of the proposal for a new EU DP framework, it is nothing new.

“The current Directive states since 1995 that consent has to be ‘unambiguous’. The Commission thinks it should be ‘explicit’. 27 national Data Protection Authorities agree. This has become a major talking point. What will this mean in practice? That explicit consent will be needed in all circumstances? Hundreds of pop-ups on your screens? Smartphones thrown on the floor in frustration? No. It means none of these things. This is only the scaremongering of certain lobbyists.”

Speaking at a cloud computing conference in Brussels on 7 March, Reding said that consent needs to be explicit because citizens don’t understand the notion of implicit consent.

“Legitimate interest is the ground that is currently used by the marketing industry for example. It will continue to be used by the marketing industry. From the perspective of this Regulation, consent is irrelevant in such cases. It will continue to be irrelevant.”

But explicit consent is needed when processing becomes more intrusive, she said.

She reiterated that she wants to conclude the negotiations within the mandate of the current Parliament, by May 2014. “I will do everything I can to support the Irish Presidency and the European Parliament in this endeavour.”

Read more about the progress with the proposals in PL&B UK and International Reports.  

The EU Data Protection draft Regulation and its impact on business will be discussed at the Privacy Laws & Business 26th Annual International Conference 1-3 July 2013 in Cambridge, UK.