Feeds

EU privacy watchdog laments weakened privacy proposals

Council of ministers 'watering down' protection

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

The European Union's Council of Ministers has weakened proposals to overhaul EU privacy laws and left people with fewer protections for their personal information, the privacy watchdog for EU institutions has warned.

The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) has said that the Council's revisions to European Parliament and Commission plans to update electronic privacy law leave citizens less protected than before. "In quite a few cases [Parliament and Commission] amendments offering safeguards to the citizens are deleted or substantially weakened," said the EDPS opinion. "As a result, the level of protection offered to individuals in [the Council-amended version of the plans] is substantially weakened."

The European Commission's Privacy and Electronic Communications (PEC) Directive is under review, a process which has involved the Council amending proposals made by the Commission and the Parliament.

EDPS Peter Hustinx said that he had made suggestions about how privacy rights could be strengthened, and that not only had they been ignored but the Council had watered down existing plans.

The EDPS ensures that EU bodies comply with data protection law and provides advice on privacy and data protection issues.

The new revisions to the PEC Directive include the creation of a security breach notification law, which would force companies which lose personal information to make that loss publicly known.

In an opinion last year, Hustinx said that the application of this should be extended beyond the planned telecoms service providers and should also apply to those providing services over the internet.

"Citizens will expect such a system to apply not only to their Internet access providers, but also to their on-line banks and on-line pharmacies," he said. "The full benefits of security breach notification will be best realized if the legal framework is set right from the outset. To this end, the Parliament and the Council will need to meet the challenge of determining the proper standard setting forth the conditions for notification and ensuring that the appropriate processes are put into effect."

Hustinx also backed the Parliament's proposal that gives consumers associations the ability to take action against organisations that breach the Directive's provisions.

One area in which Hustinx disagrees with all three EU bodies is in the plan to collect and monitor internet traffic for security purposes. The EDPS said that this was "unnecessary".

"In the EDPS view, such a provision may be subject to risk of abuse, especially if adopted in a form that does not include the necessary data protection safeguards," said an EDPS statement.

See: The opinion (20-page/35KB pdf)

Copyright © 2008, 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
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
China hopes home-grown OS will oust Microsoft
Doesn't much like Apple or Google, either
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Fast And Furious 6 cammer thrown in slammer for nearly three years
Man jailed for dodgy cinema recording of Hollywood movie
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
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.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
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?