Feeds

Data protections are being eroded, says EU watchdog

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

Boost IT visibility and business value

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.

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.