UK Government Challenges EU Definition Of Consent

Jan 05, 2015

The UK government is challenging the meaning of ‘consent’ following European Union (EU) proposals that would require businesses to obtain consent before processing personal data.

While the EU claims this move will ensure consent has been unambiguously given “for one or more specific purposes,” Whitehall claims that proposals are “unjustified.”

According to law news website, the UK wants EU law makers to turn to the definition of consent under existing EU data protection rules instead of setting the legal standards businesses would need to achieve for consent under the draft new General Data Protection Regulation.

The new Regulation is intended to replace the 1995 Data Protection Directive under which consent is defined as “any freely given specific and informed indication of wishes by which the data subject signifies his agreement to personal data relating to him being processed.”

Under the new proposals, it is to be defined as “the data subject has unambiguously given his consent” and it is this which the UK government challenges.

However, it faces opposition from the French government which wishes to see stricter controls in place for processing personal data.

The EU has already compromised on the definition of consent, dropping from “explicit” consent to “unambiguous” consent.

Concerns Over “Adverse Impacts”

Whitehall claims that the changes to EU data protection laws may gave an adverse impact on the development of dot-com businesses across Europe and hamper new developments in Big Data analytics.

The UK government is also concerned about possible impacts on schemes such as, which may suffer should the definition of consent become too “rigid.”


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