EU Justice ministers tread softly on ‘right to be forgotten’
21 January 2013 | 0
A meeting of EU justice ministers last Friday revealed failed to reach agreement on a set of proposals for how to implement the so-called ‘right to be forgotten’, according to a report in the New York Times.
The idea, championed by European Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding, would give users the right to have their personal information expunged from any websites they might have used such as discussion forums, search histories and social networks.
Proposed sanctions for services who fail to comply with requests to expunge user data could be met with penalties up to 2% of sales. This has been met with opposition in some quarters from representatives concerned that such measures would hinder the development of online business or deter continued foreign direct investment by multinational companies.
Minister for Justice Alan Shatter, who chaired the meeting as part of Ireland’s six-month EU presidency, said in a press conference any new data protection laws would have to be "balanced and proportionate" in relation to their effects on business.
Also at the press conference, Reding admitted there was "difficult work on the table". A recent EC report said that harmonisation of data protection laws across Europe would be good for business and could save the tech sector as much as $3.1 billion in legal costs.
Any harmonisation would be good news for campaigns like Europe vs Facebook, which have had to raise concerns according to the data protection laws in place in Ireland as opposed to its base in Austria.