Estonian MEP Marju Lauristin on Thursday concluded her work in the European Parliament in Strasbourg following the adoption of a report she had drafted on the privacy rules of electronic communication.
"This was my final day in the Parliament," Lauristin said after the report was approved. "I thank you all. It was a very enriching experience. I wish that the European Parliament will continue to firmly protect democracy, liberal values and the future of Europe. Thank you!"
The Parliament welcomed Lauristin's statement with a standing ovation.
MEPs on Thursday supported a decision of the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, the drafting of which was led by Lauristin, to initiate negotiations concerning EU privacy regulations on electronic communication.
Altogether 318 MEPs voted in favor of granting a mandate, with 280 MEPs voting against it and 20 MEPs abstaining. Negotiations concerning the new e-Privacy Regulation can commence as soon as the Council of the European Union has adopted its stance.
The Parliament's stance foresees high privacy and confidentiality standards in the EU's electronic communication sector, the press service of the European Parliament said.
One of the Parliament's priorities is to ban so-called cookie walls that block access to a website when the person does not agree to their data being used by the website. The MEPs also believe that a ban should be issued for the use of "cookies" or software updates for the purpose of spying on people's communication gadgets or determining their location without their consent, for example through WiFi in shopping centers.
The MEPs also emphasized that data can only be used for purposes to which the person has consented. So-called metadata, which for example includes information on numbers dialed, websites browsed and geographical locations visited or the time and date of a call, should be confidential and should never be forwarded to third parties.
"The European Parliament today made the right choice and did not give in to the pressure of lobbying from the industry," Lauristin emphasized in her brief explanation on Thursday. "People have the right to be informed about how information left by them is used. The right to not be monitored is vital from the perspective of democracy."
Lauristin, a member of the board of Estonia's Social Democratic Party (SDE), has announced that she will conclude her work in the European Parliament and return to Tartu, where she was elected as member of Tartu city council in the Oct. 15 local elections. She is also planning to continue her work at the University of Tartu.
Lauristin will be replaced in the European Parliament by MP Ivari Padar (SDE).
Editor: Aili Vahtla