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EU Privacy Your Rights Online

EU Resists US Lobbying As Privacy War Looms 131

Posted by samzenpus
from the fighting-the-good-fight dept.
judgecorp writes "The European Commission is resisting pressure from US firms and public bodies designed to derail its privacy proposals, which include the 'right to be forgotten' that would allow users to demand their data be removed from Internet sites. Facebook and others oppose the right to be forgotten as it would interfere with their ability to market stuff at friends and connections of their users."
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EU Resists US Lobbying As Privacy War Looms

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  • And... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 06, 2012 @03:14AM (#42201537)

    The European Commission is resisting pressure from US firms and public bodies designed to derail its privacy proposals

    What kind of leverage/offer do they have (particularly the US firms)

    I thought you cannot bribe (erm... lobby) European politicians as directly as in US?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by maroberts (15852)

      What kind of leverage/offer do they have (particularly the US firms)

      I thought you cannot bribe (erm... lobby) European politicians as directly as in US?

      There are plenty of ways to bribe people, perhaps you would like come out to this extremely nice 5* restaurant whilst we discuss the matter. Don't forget to bring your wife/mistress too.

      • Re:And... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Sydin (2598829) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @03:33AM (#42201613)
        Exactly: after all, what is lobbying? No, the nice gentleman from facebook is not trying to buy my vote on this matter. We are simply good friends who like to take lunch together. Only I have a chronic habit of forgetting my wallet, but he's more than happy to foot the bill. He's also quite fond of my wife, and loves to treat her to the occasional gift of exquisite diamonds and spa trips. But it's okay: he never tries to influence my vote. We're just friends.
        • by tehcyder (746570)

          Exactly: after all, what is lobbying? No, the nice gentleman from facebook is not trying to buy my vote on this matter. We are simply good friends who like to take lunch together. Only I have a chronic habit of forgetting my wallet, but he's more than happy to foot the bill. He's also quite fond of my wife, and loves to treat her to the occasional gift of exquisite diamonds and spa trips. But it's okay: he never tries to influence my vote. We're just friends.

          Pure and utter bullshit. Politicians have to declare any interests, and if anything as blatant as this happened, the person responsible would be sacked. Here in the UK there is a huge ongoing fuss about MPs expenses, and that is just people feathering their own nests, not accepting gifts from outsiders. And a few years ago there was the whole Neil Hamilton "cash for questions" fiasco.

          You can't judge all public officials by the apparent low standards of US ones.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        And this is very, very, very illegal in Europe.

      • by Damouze (766305)

        Hell, you could probably bring them both if you wanted to. It would give them a nice leverage over you :P.

      • by Kergan (780543)

        There are plenty of ways to bribe people, perhaps you would like come out to this extremely nice 5* restaurant whilst we discuss the matter. We'll supply your +1.

        FTFY

      • Wife? The purchasing manager of one large European organisation expected to be provided with an escort for the evening during the monthly contract reviews. And a Japanese company decided that a particular purchasing manager needed to visit their headquarters, which included a week of touring with a nice lady companion.

        Unfortunately, somewhat later, he was found out. It was probably not a good idea to mention to the competition that he was open to better offers...

      • There are plenty of ways to bribe people, perhaps you would like come out to this extremely nice 5* restaurant whilst we discuss the matter. Don't forget to bring your wife/mistress too.

        Michelin stars which are the international restaurant rating system only go up to 3. Or, at least, the highest ever given is 3.

        -- please mod this as off topic, because it is. :-)

        • The extra stars are for the companion they provide...

        • by tehcyder (746570)

          There are plenty of ways to bribe people, perhaps you would like come out to this extremely nice 5* restaurant whilst we discuss the matter. Don't forget to bring your wife/mistress too.

          Michelin stars which are the international restaurant rating system only go up to 3. Or, at least, the highest ever given is 3.

          -- please mod this as off topic, because it is. :-)

          OP sounded like an American. 5* probably refers to the badge his local McDonald's "maitre d'" wears.

      • Don't bring your wife. We'll provide the mistress.

        There, I think that edit would make the lobbying more effective.

    • Re:And... (Score:5, Informative)

      by clemdoc (624639) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @04:10AM (#42201747)
      Ernst Strasser, Austrian (former) MEP is just on trial for offering to sell his influence for EUR 100.000,-
      Problem is, the so-called lobbyists where british journalists.
      There are fine videos on youtube (he actually speaks english, ahem, sort of) as well, try to spill not your coffee though.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        There's a good documentary on that matter called The Brussels Business. clip [youtu.be]

      • by tehcyder (746570)
        The point about this is that he was caught out doing something wrong. If everyone was doing the same, it wouldn't be news. He is the exception that proves the rule.

        No one is saying that there are no dishonest politicians in Europe, merely that the system makes it hard for them to get away with receiving actual bribes.

    • by Coisiche (2000870)

      Sure you can.

      Our politicians are just as corrupt and self-serving as yours. They just have to work within a different framework. Which they must find galling; I bet many wish they were as rich as US politicians.

    • by Teun (17872)
      When a person has certain power there will be others wanting to influence them, at some stage this could involve bribery and now we call it corruption.

      In my view that chance is a little less in the EU system as there are so many parties, all with their own interests.
      Parties as in members of the EU Commission and Members of the European Parliament.
      The first is split up over 27 sovereign nations who all keep a very close eye on what their commissioner is doing.
      The second is split over 754 MEP's representi

    • Ever heard of "Oil for Food"? My understanding is that while it is harder to lobby European politicians, it is trivially easy to outright bribe them with the only risk to the politician being if they fall out of favor with the powers that be and/or the establishment needs a scapegoat when some scandal blows up big enough to require the government "do something" to "address rampant corruption".
    • Our lobbyists guarantee they can train any politician in under a week at one of our exclusive clubs or yachts. And as a holiday bonus the first two family members of your politician will be accommodated and employed with you company for free.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 06, 2012 @03:32AM (#42201607)

    ... shouldn't be surprised to find that even with successful lobbying to get the EU's initiatives derailed, they'll suffer backlash from their European market. The cultures (yes, multiple) here, you see, are a tad different from what's accepted in USoA interstate commerce. So you can track your consumers' (because customers would have rights, whereas consumers can be, and so are, sold and bought like CDOs) every move and poke them with the most targeted adverts imaginable, down to while they're at the loo. And instead of phenomenal sales growth, you may just find they get sick of you and you start to lose against everyone who isn't quite that aggressive.

    The USoA government, of course, has European governments well-cowed and will get the data anyway, but that too will, in the long run, bring more grief than joy. Not that anyone'll listen. If recent history teaches anything, it's that Americans[tm] are too full of themselves and their own petty politics (it's like that music, see? they've got gops AND dems 'round here) to listen to, nevermind respect, anyone else.

    Of course, playing nice with others has never been America's strong suit, so why expect them to change now? Just ignore the buggers and hope they don't get a bug up their arses and invade you.

    • You know, I love bashing the US more so than the next guy, but I don't think that's fair. You have a point about power in general, yeah. It makes dumb people *really* dumb, and that sometimes reaches its zenith in the US, no doubt. But it's not cleanly divided up amongst nations, there are scumbags and great people everywhere. And not even the scumbags of the USA are worth forgetting about the brilliant minds and big hearts that country also harbours. I know this is kind of besides your point, and obvious k

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Facebook's not being business smart about this. If the people operating it had any sense, they'd take a page from Brave New World. Make people not care about their privacy enough to use this right; doing this is begging the Streisand Effect to kick in. As it is, a lot of people wouldn't care already.
  • by maz2331 (1104901)

    That there is no single "Internet" from which to delete the data. We are talking about a network that contains billions of nodes, any one of which can cache the data, and may do so without even knowing that they are doing so. It's basically a public space.

    • by Sockatume (732728) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @04:16AM (#42201759)

      I don't know where you got the impression that this was about a right to completely scrub oneself from every server on the internet with a magic button. It's about the right to tell a web site, to which you have previously provided information, that it must remove that information.

      • It's about the right to tell a web site, to which you have previously provided information, that it must remove that information.

        Well, some people think it's the right to censor the web. I.e tell Google to forget everything you know about me, including the links to the news sites detailing how I stole money from people, etc... The right to be forgot isn't about deleting data from facebook, it's about erasing mistakes and shady backgrounds. I am pro-privacy, but anti-right-to-forgotten.

        On the other h

        • by Carewolf (581105)

          You are reading too much into this. It is about a single website having to delete your information. There are already existing laws preventing them from sharing the data. If you have made the information public already, then it is public, but a lot of private information provided to companies are not public.

        • by Bomazi (1875554)

          In other news, some people are wrong. The right to be forgotten is the obligation, for providers of web services, to provide an option to delete you account and erase the personal information they have about you. No more no less.

          I agree that this right is poorly named though.

        • by fgouget (925644)

          On the other hand, if it is about deleting data *you* uploaded to a site/service, how about just using sites/services which up front offer a "delete all me data" option?

          Except that currently the Delete button may not really do all [mashable.com] that [arstechnica.com] much [zdnet.com]. And to me this what all this is about.

        • by Sockatume (732728)

          Well, as I told you, it's not about doing the first thing at all, and never has been, and it is about obliging web sites to provide the second thing, and successfully follow through if they provide it.

    • by Teun (17872)
      For the organisations and companies involved this information equals capital and they will know quite well where to find it and who has access to the data.

      According to EU law personal information will always remain the property of the individual, something companies and organisations operating in the EU are well aware of.

      When the owner of said data sends you a take down request you have to comply, no ifs and buts.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'm pretty sure that many of the billions of nodes are server or services owned and managed by a legal or natural person.

      The law in EU intend to make possible for you to say to a specific legal or natural person to delete the data about you from their server or service. IANAL but I'm pretty sure in EU you own the data about you.

      Once you own the data about you (as in EU) ask someone to delete it is nothing more that ask to return your possession to you. Of course if you received any service in exchange of pr

  • The right to be forgotten is no right at all. What you are talking about is making others forcibly forget.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      The right to be forgotten is no right at all. What you are talking about is making others forcibly forget.

      You say "others" but this isn't about "others", this is about websites, corporations, and other legal fictions.

      • by Hatta (162192)

        Yes, the same websites that we "others" all use to keep informed. Force that website to "forget" something, and you're taking away my right to be informed.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Yes, the same websites that we "others" all use to keep informed. Force that website to "forget" something, and you're taking away my right to be informed.

          This is not about forcing people to take down information about you they have gathered and put up in pursuit of truth or justice or what have you. This is about forcing people to take down information about you that you have input to the site. It's a statement that personal information that you input still belongs to you. The laws regarding libel and free speech still vary from nation to nation.

          • by Hatta (162192)

            I don't see the difference. Once you tell me something, it's not your information anymore, even if it's about you. The things that I know are my information.

            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              I don't see the difference. Once you tell me something, it's not your information anymore, even if it's about you. The things that I know are my information.

              You're conflating people and websites again, please stop or I will conclude that you have a learning disability that makes you incapable of reasoned debate. No one is forcing you to forget, only to remove information from a public resource. If you don't like it, you're free to not accept material from visitors, then you will have no housekeeping to do.

        • by tehcyder (746570)

          Yes, the same websites that we "others" all use to keep informed. Force that website to "forget" something, and you're taking away my right to be informed.

          If you have a right to be informed of everything, then no one has any right to any privacy whatsoever.

          I thought you paranoid rightwingers were in favour of privacy? Or is that only privacy from the government enforcing democratically agreed laws?

  • Companies are fighting against this "right" because:
    1. It is completely impossible to implement.
    2. The burden of attempting to implement is is onerous.
    3. Shifting the liability from those who actually have and publish the information to those who only link to it is just wrong.
    4. If the data is true, what legal "right" exists to remove it?
    5. Existing laws and agreements covering defamation already exist for instances of false information.
    6. In many cases, the information was created and/or released by
  • Maybe they finally wizened up to the fact that you don't have to spy on people, companies do that for you, so therefore you just have to stimulate business, I mean pay for that data.
  • What I'd like to know is...how does this proposed law fit in with, and/or clash with the previous directive that web sites must hold this data for access by EU law enforcement agencies for a period of at least 6 months?

    If this proposed law passes as has been explained here on Slashdot, wouldn't users then be given the ability to bypass the data holding period, by immediately requesting deletion after every use?

    How would this burden web operators, who would then be caught between two laws that specify comple

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