European Parliament votes to permit pseudonymous data profiling

But digital rights groups warn that the proposal lacks sufficient safeguards for citizens' data

The European Parliament's civil liberties committee voted Monday night to allow profiling of "pseudonymous" data, but digital rights groups say that safeguards to protect data are not sufficient.

The committee vote was on the latest amendments to the proposed E.U. Data Protection Regulation, which was put forward by Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding in 2012 and has provoked some of the heaviest lobbying seen in Brussels in years. The text voted on Monday had been through almost 4,000 amendments.

"The combination of Articles 6 and 20 amounts to a badly drafted license to profile without consent," warned EDRi director Joe McNamee.

Article 20 of the draft law states: "Profiling based solely on the processing of pseudonymous data should be presumed not to significantly affect the interests, rights or freedoms of the data subject." Pseudonymous data is defined in the text as "personal data that cannot be attributed to a specific data subject without the use of additional information."

This means that "profiling, using nonidentified but identifiable data is permissible without the consent of the individual, using the 'legitimate interest' exception," McNamee said.

This "legitimate interest" exception appears in Article 6, which reads: "Processing of personal data shall be lawful if processing is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the controller, and which meet the reasonable expectations of the data subject based on his or her relationship with the controller.""This could turn 'legitimate interest' into the main legal basis for processing," said Jeremie Zimmermann of La Quadrature du Net in a statement.

"A lot of other compromise amendments reached by members of the different political groups are actually good. For instance, those providing that consent must be explicit, that data must be fairly processed or that citizens must keep them under their control; but these good compromise amendments could be almost useless if the compromise amendments made on Article 6 and 20 are adopted," Zimmermann added.

German member of Parliament Jan Phillipp Albrecht accepted that he couldn't keep everyone happy. "When you compromise you can't expect to get 100 percent of what you want," he said. "But I think this text is strengthening citizens' rights compared to what we have today."

The draft law does indeed include some precautions against worst-case scenarios. For instance, additional information that could be used to identify individuals in pseudonymous data must be kept separately from such pseudonymous data. Profiling that has the effect of discriminating against individuals on the basis of race or ethnic origin, political opinions, religion or beliefs, trade union membership, sexual orientation or gender identity is also explicitly banned.

The text of the law will now be negotiated with member states in the European Council after members of the committee gave Albrecht, the politician charged with steering the legislation through, a mandate to continue final negotiations. Once an agreement has been reached between all parties, the text will go before the European Parliament as a whole no later than next April.

John Higgins, director general of DigitalEurope, urged member states not to hurry final negotiations. "There is a real risk that the drafting process will be rushed and important details will not get addressed properly. Rushing through a half-baked law risks throwing away a vital and much-needed opportunity to stimulate economic growth. Put simply, take your time. Get it right."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

Launch marketing council Episode 5: Retailer and supplier

In our fifth and final episode, we delve into the relationship between retailer and supplier and how it drives and influences launch marketing strategies and success. To do that, we’re joined by Campbell Davies, group general manager of Associated Retailers Limited, and Kristin Viccars, marketing director A/NZ, Apex Tool Group. Also featured are Five by Five Global managing director, Matt Lawton, and CMO’s Nadia Cameron.

More Videos

Thanks for nice information regarding Account-based Marketing. PRO IT MELBOURNE is best SEO Agency in Melbourne have a team of profession...

PRO IT MELBOURNE

Cultivating engaging content in Account-based Marketing (ABM)

Read more

The best part: optimizing your site for SEO enables you to generate high traffic, and hence free B2B lead generation. This is done throug...

Sergiu Alexei

The top 6 content challenges facing B2B firms

Read more

Nowadays, when everything is being done online, it is good to know that someone is trying to make an improvement. As a company, you are o...

Marcus

10 lessons Telstra has learnt through its T22 transformation

Read more

Check out tiny twig for comfy and soft organic baby clothes.

Morgan mendoza

Binge and The Iconic launch Inactivewear clothing line

Read more

NetSuite started out as a cloud-based provider of Enterprise Resource Planning software or as NetSuite solution provider, which companies...

talalyousaf

NetSuite to acquire Bronto's digital marketing platform for US$200m

Read more

Blog Posts

Getting privacy right in a first-party data world

With continued advances in marketing technology, data privacy continues to play catchup in terms of regulation, safety and use. The laws that do exist are open to interpretation and potential misuse and that has led to consumer mistrust and increasing calls for a stronger regulatory framework to protect personal information.

Furqan Wasif

Head of biddable media, Tug

​Beyond greenwashing: Why brands need to get their house in order first

Environmental, Social and (Corporate) Governance is a hot topic for brands right now. But before you start thinking about doing good, Craig Flanders says you best sort out the basics.

Craig Flanders

CEO, Spinach

​The value of collaboration: how to keep it together

Through the ages, from the fields to the factories to the office towers and now to our kitchen tables, collaboration has played a pivotal role in how we live and work. Together. We find partners, live as families, socialise in groups and work as teams. Ultimately, we rely on these collaborative structures to survive and thrive.

Rich Curtis

CEO, FutureBrand A/NZ

Sign in