Stringent proposals for the revision of Europe's outdated 1995 data protection law are to be revealed by officials this coming Wednesday. The European Commission's vice-president Viviane Reding said in a speech in Germany on Saturday that the new regulation on handling sensitive data will, among other things, require internet …
Of course none of this applies to UK governments or the police who are constantly collecting data including biometric data and regardless will hold onto it.
Hopefully the new rules will mean that public authorities will be help accountable for what they do as well. (How much is 2% of HMG turnover?)
Obviously big fines aren't really appropriate for public bodies, who are often have too little money to start with. Fining/locking-up the chief exec however...
Justice Secretary Ken Clarke...
... said that "imposing a single, inflexible, codified data protection regime on the whole of the European Union, regardless of the different cultures and different legal systems, carries with it serious risks".
Oh. As opposed to 'imposing non-codified, widely variant and potentially mutually inconsistent and contradictory practices'. Which will be so much better. Thank you for making that clear, Mr Clarke.
I like it...
...in odd contrast to other internet-related laws, I like the core ideal of this law.
I just wonder what else is built into it. Hopefully it won't be ruined by some a-hole shoving in stupid and over-bearing addendums.
This new law will help put the brakes on Facebook's lax user privacy policies. Of course, by the time this legislation is enacted, they'll have forced that Timeline feature on all of us...
Doubt it will work
Cue wailing a gnashing of teeth from Facebook, Google, Bing, Banks, credit agencies etc.
This is going to be met with such a barrage of lobbying that whatever comes out of it will be, from the public point of view, diluted to uselessness. Not only that, it will probably be delayed long enough that Ms Redding is no longer around, and by then they may have lobbied someone more malleable into the rôle.
As for Justice Minister Mr Kenneth Clarke, this guy is currently trying to weasel the UK out of the European Convention on Human Rights, which for all it's high-handedness, does represent an independent voice of justice for the citizens of Europe, so I really don't think that he's the right person to comment on anything that is designed to give rights to the common person.
"...internet outfits that collect and retain data about their customers will be required to explain why it is necessary to hold such information on their databases."
"But if we don't spy on our users, we won't know what crap to flog them, our business model goes tits-up, our company collapses and lots of people lose their jobs!"
"Ah. Carry on then! Incidentally, thank you for your recent tax contribution. "
2% is not enough
It should be "2% or the amount of your turnover that involves privacy invasion".
Otherwise, phorm-like companies will say "I can do whatever I like, knowing that even if I'm found guilty, 98% of my income will be untouchable".
What if they don't know?
This should be phrased in a way that allows people to acknowledge when they know a breach has occured. No point saying "well you've got 24 hours" only to find out you had a breach earlier...
The problem is not legislation, its enforcement.
For enforcement, we depend on the corrupt, lazy, and incompetent ICO Data Protection Racket.
Until the ICO Data Protection Racket are sacked and replaced, the words of the law don't matter.
I don't expect everything announced on Wednesday to get through the European stages of the process. That's how the system works.
Then the legislation is implemented at the national level, precisely because the legal systems are different and use a local jargon, in an attempt to get the same legal results in all EU countries.
Our unequalled Justice Minister will get his chance to modify the proposals. It's a shame that his boss has aligned with the extreme elements in the European Parliament, and pissed off so many with his recent actions. But he can be assured that British MPs will let him get away with sabotaging the legislation.
Our politicians cheerfully blame Europe for every little mistake they make.
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