Feeds

Data protections are being eroded, says EU watchdog

'Basic rights need to be guaranteed' in the third pillar

The next step in data security

The EU's data protection watchdog has warned that European officials are in danger of eroding basic data protection principles and has called on them to reconsider their actions.

European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) Peter Hustinx has issued a plea for more care in negotiations over a framework decision on data protection as it relates to crime and policing. "I fear that the negotiations in council might lead to an inadequate outcome," said Hustinx.

The Council of Ministers is negotiating a framework of data protection in the third pillar, which means in the realm of law, policing and immigration.

"Delegations must understand that good data protection goes hand in hand with good law enforcement," said Hustinx, who is responsible for making sure that European bodies comply with data protection law.

"If they succeed in agreeing on a high level of protection for all data, including 'purely' domestic processing, they will at the same time improve trust between EU police and judicial authorities," he said.

Hustinx said his main concern was that two classes of data files were being created, between data from one country and data from any other member state. He said this would make it harder for citizens to exercise their rights.

Hustinx also said there was a risk the framework could allow for the processing of information on a person's religion, race or ethnic origin without sufficient safeguards, and that there was not enough protection against the exchange of information with bodies that were not concerned with law enforcement.

Echoing a concern in relation to economic data, he said current plans did not ensure adequate protections for information being transferred to other countries. One European body, bank payments organisation SWIFT, has been reprimanded by data protection authorities for allowing transaction details to be transferred to the US, where data protection is weaker.

"Some basic rights for data subjects, like the right to be informed, no longer seem to be guaranteed," said a statement from Hustinx's office. "Exceptions to this right may become the rule."

Hustinx's office also signed an agreement with EU complaints body the European Ombudsman P Nikiforos Diamandouros to co-operate on complaints relating to the duties of both offices. The two bodies agreed to inform each other when complaints relevant to the other were made.

"Because maladministration includes failure by the EU institutions to comply with their data protection obligations, it is important that we coordinate on cases where our competences partly overlap," said a joint statement from the two offices. "This agreement builds upon the current practice of good cooperation between our two institutions".

See: Second opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor (8-page / 79KB PDF)

Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com

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

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed
Remastered so hard it would be difficult or impossible to master it again
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.