07 March 2009

EU - European Push for More Online Rights to Privacy

(IDG News Service)
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) will push for a re-think of the balance between the need for security and the right to privacy on the Internet, not just in Europe but around the world. They supported a report which calls on the 27 countries in the European Union and the European Commission, its executive body, to define global standards for data protection, security and freedom of expression. The author of the report, Greek socialist MEP Stavros Lambrinidis, said the move is vital at a time when people's digital identity is becoming an integral part of their actual identity. One specific demand in the report is for a strict definition of a user's "consent" to share his data, given the unequal balance of powers between users, private companies or governments. Another is that the right of access to the Internet should be considered equal to the right to education, and should never be blocked by governments or private companies. The report debated Thursday drew support from academics, civil liberties groups and Europe's data protection supervisor Peter Hustinx, who warned against applying less strict data protection rules to the Internet than the protection expected in daily life. See EP Legislative Observatory.