[BBC] Critics condemn new EU data-protection legislation

Critics have said new European data-protection laws have loopholes that could render the legislation useless. The rules are the first attempt to create strong data-protection laws for Europe's 500 million citizens. They include a clause to strengthen online privacy in the wake of whistleblower Edward Snowden's allegations about US spying. […]

But French consumer group La Quadrature du Net was disappointed with the draft law. "There are some big loopholes that could void the effectiveness of the whole legislation," said Jeremie Zimmermann, from the organisation. He said vague wording such as "legitimate interest" could allow businesses to "exonerate themselves from the legislation". "A business could say that it is a legitimate interest to collect data in order to provide a better service for consumers or to enable it to make money," he said.

He was also surprised that the rules around data profiling were not tougher. "Machines that crunch data are used to make important decisions such as who can get a job, who can get a loan, who can get insurance," he said. "This legislation allows firms to continue to collect and process more data and profile individuals." […]

Now begins a long process during which the approved legislation will be debated among between the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Council.