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 Index 
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Debates
Tuesday, 23 October 2018 - Strasbourg Revised edition

The use of Facebook users’ data by Cambridge Analytica and the impact on data protection (debate)
MPphoto
 

  Daniel Dalton, on behalf of the ECR Group. – Mr President, trust is vital in the digital era. With more of our lives taking place online and increasing consumer choice, people can, and do, get up and leave when that trust is damaged. What happened with Facebook and Cambridge Analytica was an unacceptable abuse on a vast scale. Everyone can agree that this must not happen again, and I have been supportive of the ongoing investigations.

The UK Information Commissioner’s Office, which currently handles 30% of all European data protection board cases, is doing a thorough job of investigating. It has already issued a fine to Facebook. Cambridge Analytica is no more. It is clear that Facebook does not walk away from this scandal unscathed. Facebook knows it will need to rebuild its reputation in the eyes of its users, and as politicians it’s not our role to dictate exactly how they do that. Nor is it our role to tell users how they should react. Most Europeans have not given up their Facebook account.

Clear legal limits and strict conditions on political profiling have been imposed by the new GDPR rules. Therefore, we should allow the GDPR time to bed in before we throw the baby out with the bathwater and start to chuck more legislation at the problem. And also let’s try not to fool ourselves that Facebook manipulation was responsible for Brexit or Trump. People would have voted for them regardless of Facebook. It was already prevalent in our society.

The GDPR is not perfect, but at the speed at which technology moves and innovation moves, any new laws in this area need to keep up with the modern world. We should focus on addressing this, rather than trying to point-score by taking dangerous steps to suspend the privacy shield which is proposed in the resolution we will vote on later. This would deny our citizens the protections that it offers.

 
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