Feeds

Google's proposed global privacy standard slammed

Too vague and weak: privacy expert

New hybrid storage solutions

The set of rules which Google proposed as the foundation for a global privacy standard are inadequate, a privacy law expert has said. The rules are not specific enough to operate as a global standard, said the expert.

Last month Google's Global Privacy Counsel Peter Fleischer endorsed the Privacy Framework (pdf) published by the Asia-Pacific Economic Community (APEC) in 2005, describing it as "the most promising foundation on which to build".`

"Surely, if privacy principles can be agreed upon within the 21 APEC member economies, a similar set of principles could be applied on a global scale," wrote Peter Fleischer in the search giant's Public Policy Blog.

But privacy expert Dr Chris Pounder of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind OUT-LAW.COM, has analysed the APEC rules and found that they are not only significantly more lax than those in operation in Europe, they are so broadly defined that they cannot operate as a standard at all.

"The framework's principles were drafted in order to get agreements between diplomats – and diplomatic agreements tend to fudge important issues," wrote Dr Pounder in his analysis. "The result is that the principles are ambiguous as to their effect and are capable of a vast number of interpretations and implementations."

That ambiguity means that even on its own terms, as a proposed basis for harmonising the privacy laws of a large number of countries, the guidelines fail because they allow too much room for countries to differ, said Pounder.

There are also specific problems with the rules, according to Pounder. "There is a requirement to establish an enforcement mechanism, but this can be very low key," he wrote. He also notes that there is no requirement to establish a Privacy Commissioner to oversee compliance.

European privacy laws say a person must be told that their data is being collected at the point of that collection. The APEC rules are more lax, though, and even allow for notice to be given after data has been collected.

"The procedures that deliver a data subject with a notice could become separate from procedures that collect personal data from a data subject," argued Pounder.

While stricter data protection regimes ban the use of collected data for purposes other than those for which it was gathered, the APEC rules allow data to be shared for "compatible or related purposes", which Pounder said gave collectors of data more room to share data.

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
Heavy VPN users are probably pirates, says BBC
And ISPs should nab 'em on our behalf
Italy's High Court orders HP to refund punter for putting Windows on PC
Top beaks slam bundled OS as 'commercial policy of forced distribution'
Former Bitcoin Foundation chair pleads guilty to money-laundering charge
Charlie Shrem plea deal could still get him five YEARS in chokey
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
'Serious flaws in the Vertigan report' says broadband boffin
Report 'fails reality test' , is 'simply wrong' and offers ''convenient' justification for FTTN says Rod Tucker
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
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.
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.