Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today we send a strong message to tomorrow's European Council meeting on the Digital Single Market: We are on track to adopt the data protection reform in 2015.
The data protection reform is a key building block of the Digital Single Market and it brings benefits to citizens and business.
It will ensure a high level of protection for citizens. It will equip them to exercise their fundamental rights in the digital world. This will increase their trust in the digital economy.
It will also be good for businesses and innovation. It will provide businesses with modern common rules that apply to all providing services in the EU. It will also do away with unnecessary formalities such as notification procedures, reduce costs and apply modern concepts such as privacy by design and the risk based approach. It will be technologically neutral and not close the door to future innovations.
I congratulate the Latvian Presidency and Minister Rasnacs personally on the general approach on the Regulation, and I wish all the best to the Luxembourgish Presidency to conclude successfully the negotiations on both the Regulation and the Police Directive.
And I would like to thank the rapporteurs Mr Albrecht and Ms Lauristin for their hard work.
As Mr Albrecht said earlier, there are more points we have in common than points that divide us. The European Parliament, the Commission, and the Council all agree on a number of critical elements that form the foundations of this reform.
- A single set of rules on data protection, valid across the EU. Not 28.
- Reinforced rights to put people back in control over their data.
- The same rules for companies from the EU and from outside the EU.
- A strong and effective one-stop shop mechanism to simplify the lives of companies and citizens.
Last but not least, we all agree that, the 1995 Data Protection Directive, is the minimum level of data protection that we need to guarantee in this reform exercise.
I expect thorough discussions on other aspects of the reform, such as on explicit consent and on incompatible further processing. But we know that on the fundamentals, we do see eye to eye.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we have heard from the Council, the Parliament and the Commission. So let us now hear directly from the citizens.
According to new Eurobarometer survey on Data Protection published today, the uptake of digital technology has continued at an extraordinary pace since our last survey in 2011.
But citizens still have serious questions about the consequences of their data being collected, processed and used.
Firstly: Only 15% feel they have complete control over the information they provide online; one in three people (31%) think they have no control over it at all.
This is where trust in digital environments is lost! Six out of ten respondents say that they do not trust online businesses (63%) or phone companies and internet service providers (62%). And our reform can restore this trust, but giving back control over people's data.
Secondly: Nine out of ten Europeans (89%) say it is important for them to have the same rights and protections over their personal information, regardless of the country in which the authority or private company offering the service is based.
Let me also mention that:
- Seven out of ten people are concerned about their information being used for a different purpose from the one it was collected for.
- Two-thirds of people find it important to be able to transfer personal data to a new online service provider. This means, having the right to 'data portability'.
These findings clearly show that the data protection reform is as urgent today as it was three years ago when the Commission first presented the proposal. Internet use has increased further, and so has people's awareness as well as concern about the challenges to privacy. Trust is key, and it translates into euros and cents. We need to rebuild it, in order for our Digital Single Market to succeed.
In conclusion, we will support the co-legislators throughout the trilogues so that the data protection package becomes a reality as soon as possible.
I am confident that we can now deliver our new data protection rules to the European Union by the end of this year.