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Parliamentary questions
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13 June 2018
Answer given by Ms Jourová on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-001798/2018

Without prejudice to the powers of the Commission as guardian of the Treaties, the supervision and enforcement of data protection legislation falls under the competence of national authorities and courts. The Information Commissioner's Office, the United Kingdom's data protection authority, is conducting an investigation into this matter. The Irish data protection authority is also following up with Facebook. The Chair of the article 29 Working Party(1) indicated on 21 March 2018 that all EU data protection authorities will work together in this process(2). The article 29 Working Party also announced that it will establish a Social Media Working Group to develop a long-term strategy on the issue(3).

Commissioner Jourová has spoken to the Chair of the article 29 Working Party and issued public statements fully encouraging the data protection authorities to prepare an EU-wide response. She has also met with the United States (US) Federal Trade Commission to understand the actions undertaken by the US. On 26 March 2018 the Commission sent a letter to Facebook asking for swift action and clarifications.

With the entry into application of the General Data Protection Regulation(4) on 25 May 2018, stronger rules will apply. Failure to comply with the regulation can be sanctioned by an administrative fine up to EUR 20 million or to 4% of the total worldwide annual turnover of the company. Moreover, in its proposal for a regulation on Privacy and Electronic Communications(5), the Commission has proposed rules to enhance transparency regarding privacy settings and to provide users with more effective control over access to the information stored on their terminal equipment(6). The need for a trusted Digital Single Market was highlighted in a recent Communication.(7)

(1)The advisory group set up under Article 29 of Directive 95/46/CE composed of all EU data protection authorities, the European Data Protection Supervisor, and the Commission.
(2)Statement of 21 March 2018 of the Chair of the article 29 Working Party available at: http://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/article29/news.cfm?item_type=1307
(3)Press release of 11 April 2018 of the article 29 Working Party available at: http://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/article29/item-detail.cfm?item_id=621539
(4)Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation), OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 1‐88.
(5)Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the respect for private life and the protection of personal data in electronic communications and repealing Directive 2002/58/EC (Regulation on Privacy and Electronic Communications) COM(2017) 010 final — 2017/03 (COD).
(6)These rules will allow user to control access to inter alia their photos, calendars and contact list and the storage of e.g., cookies by websites that are for example used to track online behaviour.
(7)COM(2018) 320 of 15 May 2018.

Last updated: 14 June 2018Legal notice