Published: Wed, 13 November 2013
Hosting a special briefing on ‘Restoring Trust Online’ in the European Parliament this morning (Wednesday), Sean Kelly MEP said Europe must seize the opportunity to lead and be proactive in terms of online privacy and protecting the data of users.
Mr Kelly briefed the gathering of MEPs, data analysts, leading technology firms and European media on the latest privacy scare to hit Europe.
The latest data breach came to light this week. The security of Credit Card details of around 600,000 European and Irish users may be at risk due to a hacking attack on Loyaltybuild, a company operating schemes on behalf of major retailers, utilities and providers in the UK, Ireland, Scandinavia and Switzerland.
“Thankfully, we have a vigilant data protection authority in Ireland under Billy Hawkes, who is taking swift and decisive action on the matter. Nevertheless, it is a scary thought to think that in this day and age the data of so many citizens can be held in unencrypted form,” Mr Kelly said in Brussels.
“As a lead negotiator/Rapporteur on Data Protection for the EPP Group of Parliament, I recognise the need to provide users with reliable privacy online. We need to ‘restore trust online’ because trust has been lost somewhat.
“I believe we are united across all political groups in the assertion that regulation alone will not achieve the goals of protecting EU citizens’ personal data. Rather, innovation driven by industry such as the Qiy foundation will play the key role,” Mr Kelly said in introducing the independent Qiy Foundation presentation.
Qiy aims to protect user privacy online with a unique privacy layer on each browser, a personal data storage space and the ability to give users control over what information they choose to share in a simple manner.
Describing Qiy’s ideas as “intriguing”, Mr Kelly said their Foundation could eliminate the irritating cookie pop-up boxes currently in use: “Let’s be frank, cookies are a necessary evil of the modern online world. Qiy’s innovative idea involves crumbling these cookies.”
The South MEP is campaigning for a united, collaborative approach to online privacy in Europe, supported by the EU through coordinated policies.
“Europe led the world by developing the GSM standard for mobile phones, now we can lead the world by becoming the standard-setters for online privacy,” Mr Kelly added.