EU Calls for Data Protection Enforcement Coordination

    Oct 11, 2016

    Concentration of market power and personal data in fewer and fewer hands means that data protection authorities need to coordinate better to protect the rights and interests of individuals, the European data protection supervisor (EDPS) announced on September 23. The announcement was related to the release of a new EDPS opinion on the coherent enforcement of fundamental rights in the age of big data. The opinion calls for establishing a digital clearing house for enforcement authorities to share information about possible abuses in the EU digital sector and the most effective way of responding to them.

    “Data protection, consumer and competition law each in theory serve common goals, but in reality they generally work in silos,” the EDPS wrote in a statement. “Each branch of the law has its own role to play, but they will be more effective if they work in tandem. The Digital Clearing House will be a voluntary network of regulators willing to share information and ideas on how to make sure web-based service providers are more accountable for their conduct.”

    According to the opinion, the digital clearing house should be supplemented by guidance on how regulators could apply data protection rules in a more coordinated manner. It recommends that EU policymakers create a common area on the web where individuals can interact without being tracked. The opinion also recommends that authorities apply data protection considerations to the approval of corporate mergers and acquisitions to better protect online privacy, personal information, and freedom of expression.

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