As Washington and different American companies denounce the EU's review of its data protection legislation(1), claiming that the proposals will undermine growth, innovation and the exchange of information on terrorism and crime, 17 US consumer and civil liberty associations are lobbying the Obama administration in support of the European effort.

They urge the United States "not to stand in the way" of the modernisation of EU legislation that dates back to 1995, in a 4 February letter to senior US government officials, including Justice Secretary Eric Holder and Secretary of State John Kerry. "Without exception," they write after a visit to Brussels, "MEPs and staff reported that both the US government and US industry are mounting an unprecedented lobbying campaign to limit the protections that the European law would provide".

They add that "users around the world are experiencing increases in identity theft, security breaches, government surveillance and secretive, discriminatory profiling".

In Europe, however, the member states are still far from convinced of the merit of proposals that would establish a "right to be forgotten" on the internet, require users' consent to the commercial use of their data and impose high fines on companies that do not comply. The Irish Presidency nevertheless aims to seal political agreements on various points of the regulation by June, since the data protection directive for the law enforcement sector is at a virtual standstill.


On both sides of the Atlantic, Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding is hard at work defending her proposals. "I don't believe that everything can be left to the whims of industry," she said in an interview published by The New York Times in late January. "Industry's interests and consumers' interests can be very different." She also pointed out that the first Obama administration announced, in March 2011, its intention to work with Congress on "a privacy bill". In February 2012, note the 17 American associations, the White House...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT