European Commissioners Andrus Ansip and Vĕra Jourová have spoken in anticipation of the entry into force of the General Data Protection Regulation tomorrow.
The General Data Protection Regulation, also known as GDPR, constitutes a significant reform of the EU’s data protection framework, taking into account the new marketplaces created by the internet and other technologies, enhancing security, and increasing the level of control that European citizens have over their personal data.
The GDPR will enter into force tomorrow (25 May), two years after the regulation was adopted, and will apply to the data of European citizens that is held by companies all over the world. New measures will ensure that companies must ask for permission to store certain types of data about users of their products, and also allow users to request copies of the information that is held about them, or even to insist it is deleted under certain circumstances.
What did the commissioners say about the regulation?
Commissioner for Justice and Consumers, Vĕra Jourová, described personal data as the “gold of the 21st century”, referring to the vast sums of money that social media platforms and other internet-based companies are able to make by trading in user data. However, users currently lack control over this data, something which the commission was eager to address.
Jourová explained: “The new rules will put the Europeans back in control of their data… Companies will also benefit from the new rules, because they will be the same everywhere and the companies will only have one authority to deal with. This makes it easier to expand a business activity to another member state.”
Another advantage, she added, is that the regulation future-proofs the European economy for the digital age: “With the General Data Protection Regulation Europe asserts its digital sovereignty and gets ready for the digital age. Beyond that, the new rules are beginning to set a global standard for privacy. They will help to bring back the trust we need to be successful in a global digital economy.”
How will the regulation affect security?
European Commission Vice President for the Digital Single Market, Andrus Ansip, highlighted the data concerns highlighted by the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal, and championed the new regulation as a means of combating such misuses of data.
He said: “Two thirds of Europeans are concerned about the way their data was being handled, feeling they have no control over information they give online. Companies need clarity to be able to safely extend operations across the EU. Recent data scandals confirmed that with stricter and clearer data protection rules we are doing the right thing in Europe.”