[FinancialTimes] Victory for tech giants on EU data laws

Google, Facebook and other US tech giants have won an important victory against EU efforts to restrict the sharing of customer data after UK Prime Minister David Cameron persuaded the bloc to postpone the introduction of tougher privacy rules by at least a year. [...]

Tech lobbyists were alarmed this week when the European Parliament decided to amend the EU’s draft data privacy legislation to limit the US’s ability to obtain information on EU citizens. The measure had been stripped from the original proposal, made by the European Commission in January 2012, after intense lobbying from US officials.

US companies also want to scrap – or at least reduce – sanctions for breaching any new regulations, which could cost companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon dearly. The parliament increased the fines originally proposed by the commission to 5 per cent of annual global revenues or €100m, whichever is greater. [...]

The delay was demanded by the US, because they believe that they can get everything they want out of the ongoing trade discussions. So, it is both an opportunity to water down the proposals directly and also indirectly,” said Joe McNamee, director of European Digital Rights, a privacy campaign group. [...]