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Malta seeks greater flexibility in EU data protection proposals

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 - Friday, 07 December 2012, 18:39

Malta is seeking greater flexibility in the data protection laws the European Commission is proposing, even though it believes that they will prove to be beneficial.

Earlier this year, the Commission proposed a comprehensive reform of data protection rules dating back to 1995, with a particular emphasis on strengthening online privacy rights and boosting Europe’s digital economy.

The Commission is also seeking a single set of rules for the entire EU, noting that the 27 member states have interpreted the 1995 directive’s requirements differently, leading to divergences in enforcement.

But at today’s Justice and Home Affairs Council in Brussels, Justice Minister Chris Said called for more flexibility, as well as for special attention to be given in upcoming technical discussions to ensure that no unnecessary burdens are placed on businesses.

Nevertheless, he also said that the proposed legislative package would bring about “many positive changes”.

The package’s provisions include ensuring that whenever consent is required for data to be processed, this is given explicitly, rather than assumed. People should also have the right to delete their personal data if there are no legitimate grounds for retaining it, in what is known as the “right to be forgotten.”

EU rules would be applicable even if personal data is processed abroad by companies active in the EU.

Such matters affect, among other things, the practices of social networking sites such as Facebook, which has been vocal in opposing the proposed legislation.

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