Feeds

Terrorism no excuse for privacy breaches, says EU regulator

No need to change laws

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Terrorism and organised crime should not be used as excuses for passing laws which undermine people's privacy and data protection rights, according to the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS). Existing laws do not need changed, he said.

In an update on data protection in Europe, EDPS Peter Hustinx said that security concerns were not an adequate reason to undermine data protection principles.

"It is a misconception that protection of privacy and personal data holds back the fight against terrorism and organised crime," said Hustinx. "Current legislation does allow, for instance, law enforcement to check suspicious phone numbers found in a computer."

The EDPS has recently advised EU bodies on controversial issues of data protection such as the disputed transfer of airline passenger data to the US, telecoms data retention and EU information technology systems.

New laws and practices are being introduced in the aftermath of terrorist attacks in the US, Madrid and London which put security concerns and data protection in direct conflict. An EU deal cut with authorities in the US to transfer airline passenger data was opposed by the EU Parliament and struck down by the European Court of Justice on procedural grounds.

Other legislation causing controversy are the laws introduced by member states to comply with the Data Retention Directive. The Directive calls for telephone, email and internet data to be kept for up to two years by telecoms firms and is being opposed by civil rights groups.

One group, Digital Rights Ireland, is taking the Irish government to court over the Irish law based on the Directive and hopes to overturn the Directive itself. The Irish state is also taking a legal challenge against the Directive, but on procedural, not privacy, grounds.

Hustinx said that the idea that a state must choose either good security or good data protection is flawed. "Good data protection actually goes hand in hand with legitimate crime fighting because it increases the quality of databases and at the same time makes sure that only the right people can access them," he said.

Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.