Data protection law has not fallen from the sky. Let me give you an example of this – the overblown discussion on consent.
The current Directive states since 1995 that consent has to be ‘unambiguous’. The Commission thinks it should be ‘explicit’. 27 national Data Protection Authorities agree. This has become a major talking point. What will this mean in practice? That explicit consent will be needed in all circumstances? Hundreds of pop-ups on your screens? Smartphones thrown on the floor in frustration? No. It means none of these things. This is only the scaremongering of certain lobbyists.
Citizens don’t understand the notion of implicit consent. Staying silent is not the same as saying yes.
- Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission
The EU’s Data Protection reform: Decision-Time is Now
Important things to consider when reading about how consent will – somehow – break the Internet. It will force American (and some Canadian!) companies to obey the law or face fines. So be it.