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Watch this cartoon on proposed new EU data rules – or you’re DOOMED. Maybe

'Misleading' animation takes a swing at new regs, and misses

A strange new video designed to turn the so-called “Generation D” – generation digital, and the millennials in particular to you, chief – away from the EU's new data protection rules has met with criticism.

Yelp head of EU public policy, Kostas Rossoglou, described the video as “misleading” on Twitter.

The Data Now video features a cartoon Aladdin unable to send flowers to his girlfriend because she hasn't “consented”.

Consented to what isn't made clear in the 90-second video, but presumably it is giving her personal details to the florist.

The video is made by a group calling itself the Data Industry Platform, and run by FEDMA, Federation of European Direct and Interactive Marketing.

The video, which boasts a cast of characters including a genie, rose-loving girl Diana and baddie Evil Edgar, is apparently the first in a series.

“It is complete nonsense and misinformation by this lobby group to suggest that users would not be able to order flowers for their loved ones any more,” thundered Kirsten Fiedler, managing director of EDRi, a digital rights organisation.

“Consent is a very important part of the data protection reform – nowadays citizens are concerned about how companies use their data and would be given control by the proposed legislation," she added.

Maybe a Willy ton Bastardo variant isn’t the best way to get your point across after all.

The move comes hot on the heels of a plea from Swedish companies to negotiators to remove the so-called FISA clause from the text of the EU's new data protection regulations.

“Lobbying companies have been generating fear, information and doubt for years, based on ever-more bizarre misinformation about the regulation. Level unlocked: final fantasy,” said Joe McNamee, head honcho at EDRi.

FEDMA secretary general Sébastien Houzé admitted that the video had been intended to be "a bit provocative", but said that what is presented in the video is "a real risk".

“We launched the Data Now campaign because the conversation around data protection is being driven by the extremes. On one hand it is all Snowden and spying, and on the other it’s the Google court cases. There was nothing about the positive use of data in our daily lives," he said.

“The video is about one very important aspect: if the legislators narrow too much the definition of legitimate interest, we will have to work more on consent and it could be a real nightmare," he added.

"Particularly if we have the text from the parliament adopted, the hotel [in the video] will not be able to give complicit consent. Protecting privacy is important and is related to consumer trust, but we need to strike a balance," said Houzé.

Data driven

Talks to hammer down the final text are ongoing this week. Those involved have given themselves a deadline of the end of this year to reach an agreement.

The new regulation will update the EU's existing data protection directive and will be uniform across all EU countries, since unlike a directive, a regulation is not transposed differently from state to state.

If you want to see who’s pushing what, the European Data Protection Supervisor has an app that shows the full draft of the law, with all the competing positions. ®

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