Data protection: protecting fundamental rights and keeping people safe

Data profile folder labeled "confidential" in filing cabinettection is all about finding the balance. We need to protect our fundamental rights, but also ensure the safety of people across the EU.

This week MEPs voted through the EU data protection package and we now have the toughest data protection measures in the world.

This is a major achievement. It gives people control over their own personal data while achieving the right balance between protecting fundamental rights and enhancing police cooperation and the exchange of law enforcement data.

Businesses and consumers will have greater clarity thanks to the new rules, which include the requirement that clear consent be provided for the processing of personal data. The legislation will also require parental consent to be given in order for a child to be able to open a social media account.

The regulation gives us new positive rights including the ability to know when your data has been hacked, the use of plain language in requests for personal data and the appointment of data protection officers in firms handling large amounts of data. There will also be fines for companies that do not respect the rules.

A key aspect of the data protection package involves scientific and medical research. It is important to strike the right balance between ensuring patients’ sensitive health data is protected, while facilitating the safe and secure use of patient data for health research.

Personal data is a vital source for observational studies which can lead to medical breakthroughs on serious illnesses including cancer and cardiovascular disease and this new legislation will ensure that this life-saving research can continue with strong safeguards in place for protecting people’s personal information.

Electronic data doesn’t respect country boundaries. It is only when we work together that we can tackle this issue to protect our rights, find medical cures and protect our country.

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