NEWS18 January 2012

Proposed EU data rules go too far, research bodies say

Europe Government News

EUROPE— Industry bodies Esomar and Efamro have raised concerns about possible new European data protection rules, which they say could create obstacles for researchers.

A draft update to the EU data protection law, which was leaked to the press in December, would tighten the rules and give member states less flexibility in how they apply them.

In a letter to the European Commission, the two bodies said the proposed changes could restrict people’s ability “to comment on and shape their future society” as participants in research.

The proposal to change a requirement for “unambiguous” consent to “explicit” consent could create “serious problems”, the groups said, particularly if it were interpreted to mean written consent.

Another proposal to define any person under the age of 18 as a child would make it impossible for researchers to interview people aged 14-17 without their parents’ consent, which Esomar and Efamro said was “disproportionate to the issues the change aims to address”.

The Commission is expected to publish a new draft of the law later this month.