EDRi | 24 October 2016
Civil society urges EU leaders to protect citizens’ data in trade agreements
By Heini Järvinen
European Digital Rights (EDRi), together with 20 civil rights organisations and individual signatories, sent a letter to the leaders of the European Union. In the letter, a broad coalition urges the European Commission and Member State representatives to resist pressure and come forward with proposals which will not sacrifice citizens’ fundamental rights.
“EU leaders must protect individuals’ personal information and privacy. The best way to do this is by not including data flows in trade agreements,” said Maryant Fernández Pérez, Advocacy Manager of EDRi.
“The European Union should defend its values and regain its leadership on this key issue,” she added.
The letter highlights the negative impacts that including clauses on processing and transfer of personal data in trade agreements like the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) could have. It explains how the problems could be solved and encourages EU leaders to adopt a positive, citizen-focused agenda, which will help rebuild trust in trade negotiations.
EDRi and its members have joined efforts with consumers organisations in this initiative. Another open letter, also co-signed by EDRi, was sent to Commission’s president Jean-Claude Juncker to underline that the EU should set a global example for a data protection-proof trade policy. Otherwise, as independent research has shown, trade agreements will never work for citizens. They will not just undermine fundamental rights, but also trust and vibrancy in the data economy.