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European Commissioner Called to Defend Privacy on the Information Society

With a heightened called to ensure that personal data are protected against any unauthorized use, and that citizens have the right to decide on the way their data are processed, EU Information Society Commissioner, Viviane Reding, delivered a Keynote Speech at the European Parliament on January 28, Data Protection Day. "It is my firm belief that we cannot expect citizens to trust Europe if we are not serious in defending the right to privacy," she added. While recognizing the power of innovation of new products and services, Commissioner Reding highlighted that privacy and personal data were not always a key ingredient at the early development stage of those products and services. The European Commission is currently analyzing over 160 responses to the public consultation on the reform of the General Data Protection Directive. Several challenges has been identified such as the need to (1) "clarify the application of some key rules and principles (such as consent and transparency) in practice; (2) ensure that personal data are protected regardless of the location of the data controller; (3) promote Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETs), by introducing new evolving principles (such as ‘privacy by design, (4) strengthen enforcement, and (5) incorporate the fundamental principles of data protection to cover all areas of EU competence, including police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters and the EU's external relations."

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