eBay takes the quality of the privacy protections we provide to our users very seriously. The success of our community is based on trust, which is strengthened by our ability to provide our users with a high level of transparency and control concerning the collection and use of information about them and their activities. Because of our strong privacy protections, Privacy International rated eBay one of the best companies for privacy on the Internet and eBay is the most trusted company in 2009 for privacy as rated by U.S. consumers.
eBay strongly supports the European Commission's continued efforts to protect consumer privacy while promoting innovative industry approaches that maximise the benefits of online activity. eBay's submission to the European Commission's consultation on the current legal framework and the future of data protection (mainly concerning the general EU Data Protection Directive - Directive 95/46/EC) reflects this strong belief and highlights three specific priority areas.
From eBay's perspective, there is no need for substantial revision of the existing EU legal framework concerning data protection. Instead, any review should be focused on ensuring proper and harmonised implementation and application of the current Directive's provisions at Member State level. eBay highlighted three specific areas to illustrate the value of the existing Directive and how current concerns are not related to the rules themselves, but rather their application:
- As regards the use of Binding Corporate Rules, we show how the existing regulatory framework allows for a flexible and harmonised approach ensuring a high level of data protection for both our company's customers and employees;
- With respect to Government Requests for Third Party Information, it is stressed that a failure of some Member States to live up to the goal of a harmonised approach for data protection within the European Union puts a significant burden on businesses and compromises consumer protections;
- As for Online Advertising, we underline how important it is to take a cautious approach when dealing with newly emerging online activities of value to consumers and the wider online economy.
eBay believes this debate would be an excellent opportunity to provide useful guidelines on how the existing legal framework should be applied in light of technological developments, taking into consideration the need to balance strong personal data protection requirements and the continued development of innovative and competitive services, in particular in the online world.