think digital
ETNO
European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association

2011

| ETNO

RD342 - ETNO Reflection Document on the EC Public Consultation on the Communication on a comprehensive approach on personal data protection in the European Union


ETNO welcomes that the Communication stresses and reaffirms the twofold objective of the Directive 95/46/EC: protection of fundamental rights and freedoms of natural persons, and free flow of personal data between Member States. An eventual revision of the Directive should seek the right balance between both objectives. A revision that would only focus on protecting the fundamental right to data protection would forget the second pillar of the Directive.

ETNO believes that only strong data protection will help the completion of the internal market, by building trust and confidence. Cross-border data flows are more and more frequent and the current rigid EU rules applying to the transfer of data to third countries do not seem adequate anymore. It is necessary to simplify international data transfers, especially, within a same “group of companies”. The current review of the Directive should aim at creating a true “level playing field” for all businesses. All EU based and non-EU based online service providers that run websites and services which target European citizens, should benefit from the same level playing field, regardless to the fact that the controller has an establishment within the EU.



Executive Summary

  • ETNO  welcomes the EC public consultation on the Communication on a comprehensive approach on personal data protection in the European Union and wishes to contribute to the important debate on the future of data protection in the European Union.
  • ETNO especially welcomes that the Communication, in its first paragraph, stresses and reaffirms the twofold objective of the Directive 95/46/EC:
  1. protection of fundamental rights and freedoms of natural persons, in particular their right to privacy with respect to processing of personal data , and
  2. free flow of personal data between Member States as an integral part of the achievement of the internal market.
  • We think that an eventual revision of the Directive should seek to reach the right balance between both objectives, “equally important ambitions of the European integration process” as the Communication itself recognises.
  • A revision that would only focus on protecting the fundamental right to data protection would forget the second pillar of the Directive. Protection of privacy of EU citizens would only be ensured if a fully internal market is achieved, in which personal data can be transferred from one Member State to another and EU citizens can be sure that their personal data will be protected and handled correctly in the whole EU 27.
  • ETNO believes that only strong data protection will help the completion of the internal market, by building trust and confidence to enable Europe to reap the benefits of the European Digital Agenda and, the other way round, only a truly internal market will enhance the protection of privacy.
  • In today’s globalized economy, cross-border data flows are more and more frequent and the current rigid EU rules applying to the transfer of data to third countries do not seem adequate anymore,  severely impeding the international transfer of personal data and, thus, EU based companies’ activities worldwide. It is necessary to simplify international data transfers, especially, within a same “group of companies”.
  • The current review of the Directive 95/46/EC should aim at creating a true “level playing field” for all businesses. All EU based and non-EU based online service providers that run websites and services which target European citizens, should benefit from the same level playing field, regardless to the fact that the controller has an establishment within the EU.


Members & Observers - View companies map

  • A1 Telekom Austria Group
  • Albtelecom
  • Altice Portugal
  • BH Telecom
  • BT
  • CYTA (Cyprus Telecommunications Authority)
  • Deutsche Telekom AG
  • Eir
  • Elisa Communications Corporation
  • GO Plc (Malta)
  • Hrvatski Telekom
  • Koninklijke KPN
  • Magyar Telekom
  • Makedonski Telekom
  • Orange
  • Orange Polska
  • OTE
  • POST Group
  • Proximus
  • Síminn (Iceland Telecom Ltd.)
  • Slovak Telekom
  • Swisscom
  • TDC
  • TDF
  • Telecom Italia
  • Telefónica
  • TELEKOM ROMANIA COMMUNICATIONS S.A.
  • Telekom Slovenije
  • Telenor
  • Telia Company
  • Turk Telekom
  • Vivacom
  • AT&T
  • Cisco
  • Ericsson
  • Huawei
  • Nokia
  • Prysmian Group
  • Qualcomm Europe Inc.
  • Verizon

ETNO aisbl - Boulevard du Régent 43-44 - 1000 Brussels - Belgium

Phone: +32(0) 2 219 32 42 - info@etno.eu