SW MEP implicated in 'copy paste Amazon and Google lobbyist text' amendment row - La Treizième Étoile: A blog on EU politics
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SW MEP implicated in 'copy paste Amazon and Google lobbyist text' amendment row

Saturday, 16 February 2013
South West Conservative MEP Giles Chichester has been named as one of a number of British Conservative MEPs accused of cutting and pasting text from lobbyists from Amazon, Google and other major online enterprises directly into legal amendments to European Union legislation on consumer data protection.

The accusations, published by the Telegraph, come from campaigners for tighter privacy laws covering social media and online retailers who have published research at www.lobbyplag.eu showing the similarities between the wording of amendment proposals put forward to MEPs by firms in the industry and amendments tabled in the European Parliament's committees.

Mr Chichester is a member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE), one of the committees where this report (2012/0011(COD) Personal data protection: processing and free movement of data) is currently being formulated and scrutinised. The campaigners say Mr Chichester tabled "over 22 per cent copy-pasted content".

While there have been no rules broken, the campaigners fear that MEPs are listening to rice and powerful industry and not to consumers. In a press statement, Anna Fielder of Privacy International, said: “We would hope that MEPs are taking all sides of the argument into account when making law, not just the richest and most powerful corporate interests.”

Since MEPs are rarely all experts on the technical minutiae of each and every legislative dossier that they are party to and industry and vested interests will always their own interests to preserve, lobbying is an evident part of the legislative process. While I disagree with the campaigner’s view that this is a ‘scandal’, the ‘revelations’ are a welcome step in the name of transparency.

It is also worth noting that Conservative MEPs are the only ones that currently make public lists of their meetings with lobbyists, updated periodically.

SEE ALSO: ‘It isn’t wrong for politicians to table lobbyists’ amendments but they should be transparent about it’ Liberal Laboratory (22/02)

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