The Court decision highlights the urgency of reform. The ruling on the right to be forgotten is a milestone in the enforcement of European citizens' fundamental right to data protection. The Court had to step in and take a stance because Europe lacks modern data protection rules that are fit for the internet age.
The recent ruling by the European Court of Justice on the right to be forgotten does not give the all-clear for people or organisations to have content removed from the web simply because they find it inconvenient. Far from it. It calls for a balance between the legitimate interests of internet users and citizens' fundamental rights. A balance that will have to be found in each case.
First proposed at the start of 2012, the data protection reform has already gone through the European Parliament, which adopted its version in March last year.
Five chapters remain to be wrapped up at the EU Presidency level in the next few weeks. They include issues on data subject rights, sanctions, definitions, final provisions, and the complex legal interpretations of implemented and delegated acts (secondary legislation).
The European Union’s new data protection rules have finally been agreed by the European Council and await the approval of the European Parliament. But a last-minute addition has sparked a debate about responsibility and consent, by proposing to raise to 16 the “age of consent” under which it is illegal for organisations to handle the individual’s data.
The new data privacy laws comprise of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which governs the use and privacy of EU citizens’ data, and the Data Protection Directive, which governs the use of EU citizens’ data by law enforcement.
The new privacy regulations aim to create strong data protection law for Europe’s 500 million citizens, streamline legislation between the 28 member states pushing a digital single market and boost police and security cooperation. It is set to replace the outdated patchwork of national rules that have only allowed for small fines in cases of violation.