Feeds

UK told to strengthen data protection, again

Your watchdog is a puppy - sort it out or go to court

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

The European Commission has told the UK government to beef up data protection in order to bring safeguards for British citizens up to European standards.

We now have two months to improve the situation and bolster the powers of the Information Commissioner's Office. This is the second stage of the infringement process taken against countries which are failing to follow European law.

Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said: "Data protection authorities have the crucial and delicate task of protecting the fundamental right to privacy. EU rules require that the work of data protection authorities must not be unbalanced by the slightest hint of legal ambiguity. I will enforce this vigorously. I urge the UK to change its rules swiftly so that the data protection authority is able to perform its duties with absolute clarity about the rules."

She added, "Having a watchdog with insufficient powers is like keeping your guard dog tied up in the basement."

European data protection is covered by the 1995 Data Protection Directive. But the Commission believes that current UK law fails on several issues.

Firstly the Commission said the ICO had inadequate powers to check other countries' data protection practises - it needs to check this before international transfers of data happen.

Secondly it cannot perform random checks on people or data processing organisations, nor can it enforce penalties after such checks.

The Commission is also unhappy with court powers to refuse the right for people to have information about themselves corrected or deleted.

A spokeswoman for the ICO said: "It is important that we have effective data protection regulation to help protect individuals' personal information. We look forward to discussing the Commission's detailed concerns with the Ministry of Justice and providing input into the UK Government's response."

The Commission's infringement process has three steps, the first being a Letter of Formal Notice requesting information. Second comes a Reasoned Opinion - today's step. Finally the Commission can refer the UK to the Court of Justice.

The ICO asked for more powers in the wake of the loss of 25 million child benefit records, and on many occasions since, but political interest waned. In March the ICO asked the Tories to grant it more powers should they win the election.

Information Commissioner Christopher Graham also campaigned for custodial sentences for data breaches.

The Commission statement is here. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
Felony charges? Harsh! Alleged Anon hackers plead guilty to misdemeanours
US judge questions harsh sentence sought by prosecutors
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
Apple tried to get a ban on Galaxy, judge said: NO, NO, NO
Judge Koh refuses Samsung ban for the third time
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
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.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.