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Google privacy chief bashes EU data protection reforms

Peter Fleischer attacked Europe’s efforts to reform data protection laws, which he says will set the global standard

In summarizing last year’s data privacy trends, Google’s privacy chief, Peter Fleischer, recently attacked Europe’s efforts to reform data protection laws, which he says will set the global standard.

“Europe’s much-ballyhooed, and much-flawed, proposal to re-write its privacy laws for the next 20 years collapsed. The old draft is dead, and something else will eventually be resurrected in its place,” Fleischer, global privacy counsel of Google, wrote in a Jan. 8 blog post. “We’ll have to wait until 2014, or perhaps even later, to learn what will replace it. Whatever comes next will be the most important privacy legislation in the world, setting the global standards. I’m hopeful that this pause will give lawmakers time to write a better, more modern and more balanced law.” 

Fleischer’s comments come the day after Viviane Reding, vice president of the European Commission, addressed attendees at a private reception for Dutch telecoms operator KPN.

“Citizens are demanding high data protection standards, and they deserve nothing less. It is now up to member states to deliver the goods. We have lost too much time already,” Reding said. “My wish for 2014 is that we move full speed ahead on data protection.”

Last year, the European Union took steps to beef up cybersecurity, approving new rules to outlaw NSA surveillance tactics and codifying a new set of boundaries for what qualifies as personally identifiable information (PII) — but those measures have been significantly delayed. An EU official who spoke with reporters on Dec. 2 said that some nations have demanded more time to sign off on a law that would provide strong punishments for privacy violations, which is taking longer than initially expected and could drag well into 2014.

In the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations about the United States’ spying activities were exposed to the world, the repercussions continue to mount as executives from the European Union has called for the U.S. to take action to restore trust in the transatlantic flow of data.


For more stories on cybersecurity and data protection reform, check out InsideCounsel’s coverage below:

Top 5 cybersecurity trends for 2014

European Union adoption of cybersecurity measures delayed

EU calls on U.S. to restore trust post-Snowden surveillance revelations

EU panel approves new rules to outlaw NSA surveillance practices

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Erin E. Harrison

Erin E. Harrison is the Editor in Chief of InsideCounsel magazine. Harrison’s professional background includes extensive expertise in both print and online media, highlighted by...

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