Feeds

Privacy chief warns EU on terror laws

Security over privacy 'becoming a mantra'

High performance access to file storage

Europe's data protection chief has warned Portuguese ministers that fundamental rights to freedom are being abused in the name of security. Portugal takes over the rotating EU Presidency on 1st July.

The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) has told the Portuguese ministers for justice and the interior that anti-terror laws proposed in Europe have shown a lack of understanding of human rights law and says that anti-terror laws could be written which would safeguard privacy rights.

"I fear that messages such as 'no right to privacy until life and security are guaranteed' are developing into a mantra suggesting that fundamental rights and freedoms are a luxury that security can not afford," said EDPS' Peter Hustinx. "I very much challenge that view and stress that there should be no doubt that effective anti-terror measures can be framed within the boundaries of data protection."

The EDPS is the privacy advisor for the EU's governing bodies and has been increasingly critical of some of the legal measures put in place and some of the activity of EU bodies in the name of anti-terrorism.

Hustinx has criticised a proposal from the EU Council of Ministers on how to deal with data protection in matters of policing and justice, where he said there was a danger that information could be passed to bodies not concerned with law enforcement.

In the past he has also criticised the activities of payments body SWIFT and said that a ruling by the European Court of Justice on the transfer of airline passenger data to US authorities left Europeans' data potentially exposed.

Hustinx told the Portuguese ministers that European politicians were making increasingly alarming statements on the issue of compromises of citizens' privacy. He singled out comments made by Home Secretary John Reid at a recent G6 summit in Venice.

"The Home Secretary of the United Kingdom, Dr John Reid, called for human rights law to be rewritten, stating that 'The right to security, to the protection of life and liberty, is and should be the basic right on which all others are based'," wrote Hustinx in his letter (pdf) to Portuguese justice minister Alberto Costa.

"This position could be potentially dangerous and may produce more problems than it seeks to solve. Not only does it reveal a lack of understanding of the current framework of human rights in general, and data protection legislation in particular, which both enable proportionate measures that are necessary for public security or defence, it also ignores the lessons learned about the abuse of fundamental rights from dealing with terrorism within Europe's borders over the last 50 years.

"There should be no doubt that effective anti-terror measures can be framed within the boundaries of fundamental rights. It is these rights that need to be protected under all circumstances in a democratic society," wrote Hustinx.

Copyright © 2007, OUT-LAW.com

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

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Big Content goes after Kim Dotcom
Six studios sling sueballs at dead download destination
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
Singapore decides 'three strikes' laws are too intrusive
When even a prurient island nation thinks an idea is dodgy it has problems
Banks slap Olympus with £160 MEEELLION lawsuit
Scandal hit camera maker just can't shake off its past
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
Reprieve for Weev: Court disowns AT&T hacker's conviction
Appeals court strikes down landmark sentence
US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support
Gov't IT likened to 'a Model T with a lot of things on top of it'
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.