Feeds

Terrorism no excuse for privacy breaches, says EU regulator

No need to change laws

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

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.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Kaspersky backpedals on 'done nothing wrong, nothing to fear' blather
Founder (and internet passport fan) now says privacy is precious
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
Facebook to let stalkers unearth buried posts with mobe search
Prepare to HAUNT your pal's back catalogue
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.