Ratas: Online personal data needs to be protected, and fast

Facebook. Source: Xavier Vila/SIPA/Scanpix

According to Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center), the recently exposed mass exploitation of Facebook user data demonstrated that EU leaders must quickly reach an agreement on the protection of people's personal data online.

Meeting with his colleagues in Brussels on Thursday, Ratas reminded them of the promise they made at the Tallinn Digital Summit last fall.

"We must make more of an effort to turn 28 markets into one whole, because as of today, we still have not reached an agreement on 14 of 25 digital single market initiatives," he said. "Among other issues awaiting agreement are the protection of personal data on telecommunications networks and online platforms, copyright reform, the free movement of data and cybersecurity matters as well as the taxation of the digital economy."

EU heads of state and government also discussed digital taxation at greater length.

"Current tax rules are outdated," Ratas noted. "The issue is the fair and equal taxation of digital companies worldwide, as the digital economy knows no national borders. It isn't right, either in the equal competition or social justice context, if some companies earn a profit but do not pay taxes, unlike companies operating locally."

European leaders agreed that a global solution would be ideal, however it was unlikely to be achieved in the near future. The debate regarding whether the EU would prefer to await a global solution or should implement its own digital service tax in the meantime is scheduled to continue in June.

"The EU has made critical progress in the fight against tax evasion, and we must continue to do so," Ratas stressed. "At the same time, we must also take into account our entrepreneurs, the ease of operation of their businesses and global competitiveness. We must strike a balance between making life difficult for tax evaders and simplifying things for honest taxpayers."

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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