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Privacy watchdog lowers White House's grades

Gives Obama a D on report card and tells Europe to sort out US data sharing

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The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) last week issued a report card on privacy, civil liberties and cyber security that found the White House faring even worse than it had last year.

Obama's administration got grade C for consumer privacy, a B for medical privacy, a D for civil liberties and a B for cybersecurity - the only grade not to have fallen since 2009.

Meanwhile, on this side of the pond, EPIC president Marc Rotenberg went to the European Parliament in Brussels to try to convince it to adopt a universal framework for data protection between the US and Europe.

Giving evidence to the Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, Rotenberg said there was no reason why European citizens should not have the same data protection rights as US citizens.

He said any agreement between the EU and US should share the same basic principles, whether data is stored or processed for commercial or law-enforcement purposes.

Any agreement should set out what data can be shared with US authorities for law enforcement and give European citizens clear rights as regards their information and means of redress if this data is misused, he said.

Citizens should have the right to ask what information is stored about them, and who has access to it.

Rotenberg also said that regulators on both sides of the pond should have real investigatory powers to ensure the rules are obeyed. ®

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