Neelie Kroes: Online privacy – reinforcing trust and confidence

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Speech at the Online Tracking Protection & Browsers Workshop Brussels, 22 June 2011 – Thank you for inviting me to address this workshop on online tracking protection and browsers. It is a pleasure to be amongst so many experts in this field. I would like to take the opportunity to kick this event off by setting out my vision for online privacy in the digital age. I will also say a few words about the implementation by EU Member States of the ePrivacy Directive – and about self-regulation and compliance with the new rules in general. I will conclude by detailing why I believe we need to broaden the discussion and what should be done next – at EU level and beyond.

Privacy in the digital age

Concerns about privacy in the digital age are nothing new. Back in 1999 Scott McNealy of Sun famously said: ‘You already have zero privacy – get over it’. Now, I’m sure this was meant partly as a provocative remark, but it reveals an important misconception that many people had even then – that you somehow have to leave your right to privacy at the door when you enter the online world. Needless to say, I don’t agree! In Europe everybody’s personal data is protected, offline and online. This becomes more important as the internet turns into a much more social environment. Millions of us share our information, thoughts and photos every day, with friends and others. The very way we interact is changing and brings exciting new opportunities. Here to read more.

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