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Parliamentary questions
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8 January 2019
E-000054-19
Question for written answer E-000054-19
to the Commission
Rule 130
Ramon Tremosa i Balcells (ALDE)

 Subject:  Personal data brokers and consumer profiling: GDPR rules and compliance with Article 5(3) of Directive 2002/58/EC
 Answer in writing 

Data brokers have been collecting a wealth of personal, locational and transactional data to paint a picture of people’s lives. Tastes in books or music, political or religious leanings, and personality traits are all packaged and sold to a range of industries, tech companies, banks and insurers, retailers, telecoms and media companies(1).

The rise of Internet-connected devices has fuelled an enhanced industry of ‘cross-device tracking’ that matches people’s data collected from across their smartphones, tablets, televisions and other connected devices. It can also connect people’s behaviours in the real world with what they are doing online(2).

The Commission estimates that the data market in Europe could be worth as much as EUR 106.8bn by 2020(3).

Following Ms Jourova’s discussions with tech companies, in light of GDPR rules and Article 5(3) of Directive 2002/58/EC:
1. Can the Commission state the economic value of the data relating to Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp, and can it confirm whether purchases of online profiles have fallen since GDPR rules entered into force?
2. Can it confirm that data brokers are keeping consumers’ identities anonymous and have received their explicit consent for the utilisation of their data, including their geographical location?
3. Can it confirm that data brokers have not created special categories of consumer data based on racial or ethnic origin, or political opinions etc.?

(1)https://www.ft.com/content/f1590694-fe68-11e8-aebf-99e208d3e521
(2)https://www.ft.com/content/f1590694-fe68-11e8-aebf-99e208d3e521
(3)https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/final-results-european-data-market-study-measuring-size-and-trends-eu-data-economy

Last updated: 23 January 2019Legal notice