MEPs visit to London for talks on UK data protection disappointing

08/11/2022 | Politico

Members of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) of the European Parliament expressed their feelings of dissatisfaction over the way UK officials treated them during their visit to London last week to discuss the UK's plans for data protection reform. French MEP Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield went as far as to say, "we were taken for fools" after a string of snubs, including Digital Minister Julia Lopez quitting a meeting halfway through and ministers from the Home Office failing to show up. 

Furthermore, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) sent Acting Executive Director Emily Keaney instead of Information Commissioner John Edwards, who "didn't seem to know anything about data protection." On a recent trip to Ireland, the Irish data commissioner Helen Dixon attended the meetings and was fully briefed. 

In relation to the UK' 's plans to overhaul its data protection regime, the French MEP said it, "It was appalling, it was all about growth and innovation and nothing about human rights," and that "I never heard them say, protecting data is a fundamental right. Even in Hungary they say this." But the most concerning aspect in Delbos-Corfield eyes was "the weakness of the ICO." Even the centre-right Italian MEP Fulvio Martusciello said that his impression was that the UK is "giving in on privacy in exchange for business gain." He said, "In Europe, the protection of the individual prevails; in the UK, the protection of the economy." 

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