With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for internet users whose personal data is collected online.
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Are you one of the 71 % of people in the EU that use the internet every day or almost every day? The rapid development of digital technologies means we increasingly use the internet in our daily activities. As citizens and consumers, you probably use public institutions’ or companies’ services online: from filing a tax declaration to shopping online or using social media. When you access these services, personal data about you are collected and transferred. While more than 70 % of Europeans feel they have to provide personal data to obtain products or services, they are also concerned about not having complete control over what their data are used for.
To promote fair use of personal data and allow you to enjoy your related rights, the EU has taken several initiatives. From May 2018, new rules, adapted to the new technologies, will strengthen these rights. These include: getting easy-to-understand information, in particular for children, on how data are used; being asked for your approval, unless there is a legitimate need to collect your data; freedom to transfer your data from one service provider to another (data portability); to have your data deleted if you no longer want them online and there is no legitimate grounds to keep them (the right to be forgotten). Data protection must also be respected when accessing free digital content (such as media platforms, online games) and when data are transferred outside the EU.
Now that you know about your rights, the EU also provides information on the remedies available in case of infringement.
- EPRS publication on Fundamental rights implications of big data, https://epthinktank.eu/2017/03/10/fundamental-rights-implications-of-big-data-plenary-podcast/
- EPRS publication on Contracts for the supply of digital content and personal data protection, https://epthinktank.eu/2017/05/16/contracts-for-the-supply-of-digital-content-and-personal-data-protection/
- EPRS publication on Transatlantic data flows, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/ATAG/2016/583773/EPRS_ATA(2016)583773_EN.pdf
- European Commission’s Directorate General for Justice and Consumers, data protection website https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/law-topic/data-protection_en