The European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) said it welcomed the vote in the European Parliament on the EU General Data Protection Regulation.

"This regulation arguably gives us the most modern data protection regime in the world; one that was conceived explicitly to deal with issues arising with regard to connected products and services," said ACEA secretary general Erik Jonnaert.

ACEA recently adopted a statement setting out five principles of data protection to which the auto industry will adhere. These principles include transparency, customer choice, 'privacy by design', data security and the proportionate use of data. ACEA has also just published the industry's strategy paper on connectivity, which addresses issues such as data protection and access to vehicle data by third parties.

Jonnaert said: "Data protection is an issue automakers take very seriously, as we are committed to providing our customers with a high level of protection and maintaining their trust. This is essential if intelligent transport systems and the connected car are to fulfil their potential to contribute towards societal goals such as facilitating traffic management, improving road safety, reducing fuel consumption and bringing down CO2 emissions."

"However, with these new EU data protection rules in place, we should avoid that national data protection authorities start interpreting this regulation divergently," he added. "Now that we have one common EU regulation, different national interpretations should be avoided."

In a statement, the European Commission said: "The new rules will ensure that the fundamental right to personal data protection is guaranteed for all. The General Data Protection Regulation will help stimulate the digital single market in the EU by fostering trust in online services by consumers and legal certainty for businesses based on clear and uniform rules."

"These rules are for the benefit of everyone in the EU. Individuals must be empowered: they must know what their rights are, and know how to defend their rights if they feel they are not respected."

Proposed by then EU justice commissioner, vice-president Viviane Reding in January 2012, the data protection reform package includes the General Data Protection Regulation and the data Protection Directive for Police and Criminal Justice Authorities. It updates and replaces the current data protection rules that are based on the 1995 Data Protection Directive and the 2008 Framework Decision for the police and criminal justice sector. The data protection package is a key enabler of the digital single market and the EU agenda on security.

Adoption "means a robust level of EU data protection standards will become the reality in all EU member states in 2018," the EC said. Member states have two years to apply the Data Protection Regulation and to transpose and implement a so-called 'Police Directive'. This timeframe gives member states and companies sufficient time to adapt to the new rules.

"The commission will work closely with member states to ensure the new rules are correctly implemented at national level. We will work with the national data protection authorities and the future European Data Protection Board to ensure coherent enforcement of the new rules.

"The commission will also engage in open dialogue with stakeholders, notably businesses, to ensure there is full understanding and timely compliance with the new rules."

EC said citizens will have more information on how their data is processed, presented in a clear and understandable way. They will have the right to know as soon as possible if their data has been hacked or disclosed.

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