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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

EU Greens win key vote on data ‘spying’ and civil liberties online

LONDON Euro-MP Jean Lambert has welcomed the backing of MEPs from across the political spectrum for greater protection for personal data in an important Committee vote in the European Parliament.

Members of the European Parliament’s Home Affairs and Justice Committee yesterday backed the Greens on several key issues for the future of our privacy online.

Ms Lambert said the next step was a period of dialogue with governments around the EU on how and when the new rules would be implemented.

“We agreed that there should be no transfer of personal data to non-EU governments – like the US – without new legislation,” she said.

“In addition to new rights to have data erased, and a requirement that personal information can only be collected with consent of the person concerned, this will really give back control of their privacy to millions of computer users around the EU.”

Members of the committee also backed Green calls for bigger fines for firms that break the rules and flout customers’ rights, as well as a reduction in red-tape facing small businesses, and new rights for transparency in the industry so everyone can see what data is being held about them – and what they are using it for.

“This vote is a breakthrough for data protection in Europe and would overhaul EU rules, ensuring they are up to the task of the challenges in the digital age,” Ms Lambert added.

“This legislation introduces overarching EU rules on data protection, replacing the current patchwork of national laws, and a clear majority of MEPs has voted to ensure it delivers a high level of protection for EU citizens.

“The European Parliament now has a clear mandate to start negotiations with EU governments, with a view to finalising this crucial legislation as soon as possible.

“The ball is now in the court of national governments to agree a position and start negotiations, so we can respond to citizens’ interests and deliver an urgently needed update of EU data protection rules without delay.”

“We also expect governments to stand by such legislation and not undermine it through co-operation with so-called friendly governments,” she observed.