Feeds

EU privacy watchdog laments weakened privacy proposals

Council of ministers 'watering down' protection

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
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?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.