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Date

24 Nov 2011

Sections

InfoSociety

ETNO calls for more harmonisation throughout the EU and same rules to apply across the whole ICT value chain

Full confidence in the protection and security of personal data is a key condition for EU consumers to further embrace broadband services, in line with the objectives of the EU Digital Agenda. The review of the Data Protection Directive is an opportunity to modernize and adapt the existing data protection provisions to reflect important technological and societal developments that have occurred in recent years as a result of becoming a globally connected society. At this critical juncture in the review process, ETNO would like to flag some priority issues for the European telecoms sector.

ETNO fully supports the call by Commissioner Reding for a level playing field. ETNO believes that individuals located in the EU/EEA should be granted the same level of protection for personal data, regardless of the technology used, or the geographical location or economic sector of the service provider”, says Luigi Gambardella, ETNO Executive Board Chair.

As recently communicated by ETNO and the other trade associations representing ICT players in a joint statement to the European Commission, a level playing field is essential to maintain the competitive status of European companies. Players who direct their services to European consumers should also be subject to EU data protection laws even if based in a third country or if data are stored in a cloud.

Sector specific regulation for the telecoms parts of the ICT value chain is inappropriate and inadequate, particularly in light of the constant development of new services which are difficult to categorize within current legislative definitions.

It is crucial to have a data protection framework that is harmonised to the greatest extent possible across Member States. The current non-consistent application of privacy rules across Member States is burdensome and costly for businesses that are providing equivalent services across different Member States. In order to facilitate the free movement of personal data and to foster the necessary consumer confidence and trust, ETNO believes that a preferable legal instrument would be a Regulation rather than a Directive.

It is also important to amend the framework so as not to prevent businesses from executing against the vision and objectives of the Digital Agenda at a time when its achievement is important for Europe. All efforts should focus on maintaining a healthy environment that encourages innovation while maintaining a user-centric focus. 

The new framework should be forward-looking and capable of supporting future

generation services and technology trends. Europe has an opportunity to provide

thought-leadership in this area and to create an innovative and flexible approach that allows businesses to grow and provides consumers with the confidence they need to embrace all that the ICT sector can offer. Europe must get it right”, says Cristina Vela, Chair of ETNO Data Protection Working Group.

For more information, please contact: Thierry Dieu, ETNO Acting Director/ Communications Manager Tel: (32-2) 219 32 42 Fax: (32-2) 219 64 12 E-mail: dieu@etno.be

ETNO’s 40 member companies and 10 observers from Europe and beyond represent a significant part of total ICT activity in Europe. They account for an aggregate annual turnover of more than €600 billion and employ over 1.6 million people. ETNO companies are the main drivers of broadband and are committed to its continual growth in Europe.

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