This site has been archived on (2014/07/22)

Navigation path

Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship

Eurobarometer results confirm necessity to reform EU data protection rules


Three out of four Europeans accept that revealing personal data is part of everyday life, but they are also worried about how companies – including search engines and social networks – use their information. These are the main conclusions of a new Eurobarometer survey on attitudes towards data protection and electronic identity, released by the European Commission today. The Commission aims to address these concerns by strengthening its legislation on data protection.

The report reveals that 62% of people in the European Union give the minimum required information so as to protect their identity, while 75% want to be able to delete personal information online whenever they want to – the so-called right to be forgotten. There is also strong support for EU action: 90% want to have the same data protection rights across Europe.

The survey results come as the Commission prepares to reform EU data protection rules. The key principle of EU data protection rules is that users have to give consent before their data is used. This information cannot then be passed on without the user’s approval and companies cannot use it for purposes other than what was agreed.

Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU Justice Commissioner, explained that “when I modernise the data protection rules, I want to explicitly clarify that people shall have the right – and not only the ‘possibility’ – to withdraw their consent to data processing".

One of the key goals of the data protection reform is to strengthen rules so that service providers increase transparency about how a service operates (what data is collected and further processed, for what purposes, where and how it is stored) and ensure appropriate security measures.

The aim is to protect individuals' data in all policy areas, including law enforcement, while reducing red tape on business and guaranteeing the free circulation of data within the EU. The Commission plans to come forward with specific proposals before the end of the year.