Sunday

26th Feb 2017

Police should not be exempt from privacy rules, says EU data chief

  • Plans to exempt police forces from data rules have been criticised by the EU's privacy chief (Photo: The Planet)

EU data protection chief Peter Hustinx has warned governments not to water down new rules on data protection by excluding police and law authorities from the scope saying that such steps would be "inappropriate."

The EU Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) was speaking Wednesday (20 June) at a press conference following the presentation of the European Data Protection Supervisor's annual report to MEPs on the European Parliament's civil liberties committee. In his opening statement, Hustinx said that his office was keen to deliver "protection that works and protection in practice".

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

While praising the attempts to re-write the EU's data protection rules, tabled in January by EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding, as "an enormous step forward", Hustinx maintained that the references to law enforcement agencies should remain in the text describing it as "one of the few positive things in a rather weak directive."

Meanwhile, the EDPS report describes including police and justice authorities in the legislation as "a conditio sine qua non (without which there is nothing) for effective data protection".

Although MEPs are anxious to ensure that the new data protection rules cover government agencies as well as businesses, it is understood that a number of member states are keen to remove law enforcement authorities from the scope of the directive, regarding this as an exclusively national competence.

Last week the UK became the latest member state to write domestic legislation aimed at increasing the access of law enforcement authorities to intercept personal data from emails and text messages, launching a new Communications Bill in the House of Commons.

The EDPS insists that MEPs and ministers should build on the Commission proposal by increasing the legal responsibility of organisations to protect personal data. It wants the data protection directive, which only sets out minimum harmonisation standards, to be scrapped and replaced with a binding regulation.

The new rules also include the concept of "a right to be forgotten" giving individuals the right to demand the deletion of their data by companies. The EDPS wants this provision to be kept and safeguarded in the package.

Jan Albrecht, the German Green MEP charged with drafting Parliament's position on the regulation, is expected to circulate a working paper to MEPs in the civil liberties committee before the parliamentary recess starts in mid-July. The move is part of a long timetable which is expected to lead to an agreement between MEPs and ministers in summer 2013.

EU data protection rules 'on schedule' despite delay

Despite not having begun formal deliberations in committee, the European Parliament is on course to define its position on the EU's new data protection regime by mid-2013, according to data privacy expert Sophie In't Veld.

Analysis

Why Romania erupted in protest

Current anger over corruption laws can be traced back to a night-club fire in 2015, when many died because of lax safety standards. Romanians then realised that corruption can kill.

French police raid Le Pen's party office

Officers raid the National Front headquarters near Paris over allegations that leader Marine Le Pen used fake EU parliament contracts to pay her personal staff.

News in Brief

  1. Spanish court jails former IMF chief Rato
  2. Macron proposes Nordic-style economic model for France
  3. Germany posts record high budget surplus
  4. Labour ousts Ukip in Brexit homeland
  5. Dutch lower house approves EU-Ukraine treaty
  6. WTO says Russian pork ban was illegal
  7. Belgian nuclear plant made 'significant progress' on safety
  8. Report: Commission gauging EU support for Poland sanctions

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EURORDISJoin Rare Disease Day and Help Advocate for More Research on Rare Diseases
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceStudents Who Are Considered Fit Get Better Grades in School
  3. QS World MBA TourMeet with Leading International Business Schools in Paris on March 4th
  4. Malta EU 2017Economic Governance: Agreement Reached on Structural Reform Support Programme for Member States
  5. Socialists & DemocratsWomen Have to Work Ten Years Longer to Match Lifetime Earnings of Men
  6. Counter BalanceTrans-Adriatic Pipeline Is a Major Risk for Banks, Warns New Analysis
  7. Martens CentreEU and US Migration Policies Compared: Join the Debate on February 28th
  8. Swedish EnterprisesTechnology and Data Flows - Shaping the Society of Tomorrow
  9. UNICEFNearly 1.4 Million Children at Risk of Death as Famine Looms Across Africa and Yemen
  10. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Help Startups Access US Market
  12. Centre Maurits CoppietersMinorities and Migrations