15th March 2017

EDPS warns against introducing the idea that people can pay with their data the same way as they do with money

The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) said today, as he published his Opinion on the Commission’s Proposal for a Directive on certain aspects concerning contracts for the supply of digital content. The Opinion was issued at the specific request of the Council.

The Commission’s proposal extends consumer protection to digital content supplied to the consumer in exchange for money or data, including personal data. The EDPS highlights the risk of confusion for consumers and business of any new provisions in EU law which appear to treat personal information, whose protection is a fundamental right, as mere commodity. It could interfere with the careful balance negotiated by the EU legislator in the GDPR, for example, on the role of freely-given consent and the right to data portability.

Giovanni Buttarelli, EDPS, said: “The EDPS supports the aim of the Commission’s initiative, which is to enhance consumer rights. I consider this an opportunity to harness synergies between consumer and data protection law in the interests of the individual. The proposed directive should avoid unintentional interference with the data protection rights and obligations set down by the EU last year in the General Data Protection Regulation. Individuals should not be required to disclose personal data in ‘payment’ for an online service. Rather, their rights and interests should be safeguarded by coherent application of up-to-date rules in the consumer and data protection area.” Read more.


From full EDPS opinion "...one aspect of the Proposal is problematic, since it will be applicable to situations where a price is paid for the digital content, but also  where digital content is supplied in exchange for a counter-performance other than money in the form of personal data or any other data. The EDPS warns against any new provision introducing the idea that people can pay with their data the same way as they do with money." 

Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic