The European Parliament's Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) has now followed the Committees on Industry (ITRE), Internal Market (IMCO) and Employment (EMPL) in giving its opinion on a draft regulation aiming to better protect the personal data of European citizens. JURI MEPs showed greater support for the European Commission's proposals than their colleagues in the ITRE committee, which was welcomed by Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding.

"Today's vote is unambigous: we have shown our support for a better level of protection for the private lives of citizens," said the rapporteur, French Conservative Marielle Gallo. Nonetheless, she regretted the fact that "certain MEPs have obstinately rejected any reasonable compromise".

The JURI committee has therefore backed the principle of a wider definition of personal data, including, for example, IP addresses - as the EU Court of Justice wanted, as well as that of the explicit consent of the citizen for the use of their data. JURI also called for "incentives" to encrypt data. Finally, echoing the Commission, it called for significant financial sanctions against companies that do not respect the new rules; either fines of up to a million euro, or 2% of their global business figure.

Gallo said that targeted advertising, known as profiling', should be forbidden if it affects users negatively or is discriminatory, meaning that it is based on criteria such as ethnic origin, religious beliefs or sexual preference.

The committee...

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