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Backroom deal selects unknown for Euro data ‘supervisor’

Wouldn't some governments find a toothless stooge handy in the post?

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A Brussels fudge threatens to parachute a virtually unknown Spanish magistrate into the key post of European Data Protection Supervisor. Earlier this month Joaquín Bayo Delgado was selected via secret ballot by the European Parliament's Committee on Citizens' Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs, despite deep obscurity and no known track record on privacy or data protection.

According to Privacy International's Director Simon Davies, Joaquín Bayo Delgado's appearance in pole position seems to be the result of a collision of intensive Spanish lobbying and widespread European Parliament opposition to the installation of any candidate favoured by the "hard line" data protection lobby. "To the best of our knowledge," says Davies, "he has never written about the subject, nor spoken about it in any public presentation."

The Data Protection Supervisor post covers almost all aspects of data protection in Europe, including oversight of the Schengen Information System.

Says Davies: "Privacy and Data Protection are complex issues requiring a high degree of sensitivity and wisdom. This deplorable deal has occurred at a moment when these rights are under unprecedented stress. The protection of privacy in Europe is at a crossroads, and this decision may well result in the loss of rights for all Europeans."

Although the appointment is now almost a certainty, Committee chairman Jorge Hernandez Mollar still has to negotiate with the Council. These negotiations will be based on the Committee's list of four (Bayo and three runners up) and the Council's own list of finalists, which strangely enough consists of three - the same list, minus Bayo. Two names will be selected from this little lot, and then voted on by the Citizens' Rights Committee next week.

According to Privacy International there are individuals "with with the background, skills and motivation necessary for this important post," and the outfit urges the Council and the Committee on Citizens' Rights to overturn Bayo's nomination in favour of one of these. &reg:

Related links:
Privacy International
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