- Working groups
29 January 2013, Brussels – ETNO and the GSMA call on the European Parliament and Council to work towards the timely adoption of the EU Data Protection Regulation and to ensure that the final text reaches the proper balance between protecting consumers and driving economic growth.
On the occasion of European Data Protection Day, the GSMA and ETNO held a joint interactive workshop on the General Data Protection proposal with members of the Council's Working Party on Information Exchange and Data Protection (DAPIX) and representatives of the Member States' Permanent Representations. Following this workshop, the organisations then jointly hosted a dinner for representatives of the Irish EU presidency, including MEP Sean Kelly and representatives from the Irish Department of Justice and Equality and the European Commission.
“ETNO believes that the EC draft Regulation would be a major step towards better harmonisation of data protection throughout the EU, leading to increased consumer trust and enhancing the Digital Single Market. ETNO welcomes the introduction of the same obligations for all players offering services to EU citizens, independently of their location, ensuring that EU consumers enjoy a consistent level of protection of their data”, said Daniel Pataki, ETNO Director.
“Policy makers now have an unprecedented opportunity to create a harmonised and consistent set of rules providing legal certainty for individuals and business,” said Martin Whitehead, Director, GSMA Europe. “This can make it easier for individuals to understand and manage their privacy, irrespective of the technology they use, where a service is provided from, or where their data is processed. However, to achieve this, we believe it is necessary to ensure consistency between the proposed data protection regulation and the ePrivacy Directive, and perhaps consider whether two sets of rules are required.”
Sean Kelly, Member of the European Parliament, noted that “it is imperative that we streamline and simplify rules to stimulate innovation, reduce the administrative burden and create an environment where new ideas, new companies and new jobs can flourish. Trust is an important part of innovation - new products and services need to retain the trust of citizens. Therefore a flexible, clear data protection regulation will serve as a framework for trust, innovation and creativity.”
ETNO and GSMA members are committed to ensuring consumer confidence and trust in a world of new innovative services and data use. The organisations call for flexibility in the regulation, and suggest many of its key objectives can be achieved by privacy by design, privacy assurance schemes and effective accountability measures. In addition, sanctions should be proportionate and applied according to objective criteria, including the harm caused to individuals. A balanced approach can help realise the benefits of the digital economy for consumers, citizens and business.
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide. Spanning more than 220 countries, the GSMA unites nearly 800 of the world’s mobile operators with more than 230 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset makers, software companies, equipment providers and Internet companies, as well as organisations in industry sectors such as financial services, healthcare, media, transport and utilities. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as the Mobile World Congress and Mobile Asia Expo.
ETNO’s 37 member companies and 12 observers, including leading telecoms operators and equipment manufacturers, 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.