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Advertising federation hits out at EU's Data Protection proposals


By The Drum Team, Editorial

January 25, 2012 | 2 min read

The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) has complained about proposals published today by the European Commission to overhaul EU Data Protection rules.

The WFA expressed concerns that the proposed rules "would undercut the advertising-funded business model that drives the digital economy as we know it" and in turn "they would act as a brake on innovation, competitiveness and growth in Europe".

In a statement, published below, it detailed its key concerns about the proposals:

"The new definitions of "data subject" and "personal data" encompass a virtually unlimited amount of information. This means that an anonymised online identifier – such as those used to target digital advertising – would be subject to the same safeguards as an individual's full name, address or credit card number."

"By requiring a single form of "explicit consent" for all categories of information (from the anonymous to the truly sensitive), the proposal would not allow for any differentiation between asking for people’s consent to placing a cookie, collecting their full name, or tracking their religious and political beliefs. This risks increasing "consent fatigue" and leading people to automatically consent to the collection of any

data, undermining the special care that should be applied in the context of truly sensitive data."

"The rules for children (variously defined as those under 13 and under 18) are out of touch with reality, imposing unrealistic obligations with no regard for the way young people already use the internet. The inevitable result will be that the majority of people ignore (or learn to flout) the rules altogether, thereby potentially putting the youngest and most vulnerable at a greater risk."

Stephan Loerke, WFA managing director, said: "There’s no denying that the current data protection framework needs updating but today’s proposal would have damaging consequences for jobs and our economy. It would stifle both growth and innovation across Europe – the opposite of what is needed in the current economic climate.

"Proposals for data protection must protect people’s legitimate rights to privacy while also enabling business opportunities. These proposals have failed to achieve that balance."


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