Monday, 8 February 2010

Privacy in the EU

Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media, has promised tough new laws to curb privacy-breaching technology and said there needed to be clarity as to how key principles like consent and transparency work in practice and to ensure that data was safe no matter where the data controller was located. She said there should be promotion of 'privacy by design', see here.

As the same time we learn that large amounts of confidential personal information held about British citizens on a giant computer network spanning the European Union could be accessed by more than 500,000 terminals, as reported by the Observer.

The figure was revealed in a Council of the European Union document examining proposals to establish a new agency, based in France, that would manage much of the 27 EU member states' shared data. But the sheer number of access points to the Schengen Information System (SIS) – which holds information regarding immigration status, arrest ­warrants, entries on the police national ­computer and a multitude of personal details – has triggered concerns about the security of the data.

Statewatch, said it was aware of a case in Belgium where personal information extracted from the system by an official was sold to an organised criminal gang.

Although the UK and Eire are not signed up to Schengen, a lot of their personal data is.

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