While the EU’s new data protection rules present a threat to the European digital economy, recent actions by regulators in some member states remind us why EU-wide rules still cannot come soon enough. Last month, the Belgian Privacy Commission (CPVP) alleged that US tech giant Facebook does not follow the strict consent requirements in Belgian privacy law and therefore should stop collecting personal data for advertising – in effect, calling for the courts to cut off access to one of the most useful online advertising platforms for Belgian businesses. While the case appears unlikely to succeed given that Belgian courts have rejected similar claims in the past, it is nevertheless the latest evidence that if the EU is serious about both building a digital single market and becoming a hub for the internet economy, it needs national lawmakers and regulators to commit to reasonable and consistent union-wide rules for targeted online advertising.
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