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Parliamentary questions
12 June 2013
Answer given by Mrs Reding on behalf of the Commission

The Commission is aware of the article published by the Financial Times but has not analysed the Cambridge study referred to. If, as reported, Facebook ‘like’ patterns and the social graph of individuals allow uncovering with a high degree of likelihood individual's personal characteristics, including sensitive data, such as race, political opinions, health related issues or sexual orientation, this raises some legitimate personal data protection concerns.

The article shows the importance of protecting personal data effectively, also in the future. The processing of personal data in the EU is currently subject to the obligations of national laws implementing Directive 95/46/EC(1). The Commission’s proposal for a General Data Protection Regulation(2) clarifies and strengthens the rights of data subjects in the context of online activities, such as social networking. This proposal is currently being negotiated by the the European Parliament and the Council.

(1)Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, OJ L 281, 23.11.1995.
(2)COM(2012) 11 final.

OJ C 11 E, 15/01/2014
Last updated: 12 June 2013Legal notice