Last week saw the publication of the Report on the joint review of the implementation of the Agreement between the European Union and the United States of America on the processing and transfer of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data by air carriers to the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

A team comprised of representatives from both the European Commission and the DHS was charged with reviewing the implementation of the July 2007 bilateral agreement which permits the transfer of PNR data from airlines in the EU to the DHS. Under this agreement, the DHS has the right to use the data only for the purpose of preventing and combating (i) terrorism and related offences and (ii) other serious offences which are transnational in nature. The team found that the DHS generally complies with … Continue Reading ››
I have been examining the Election Manifestos for the benefit of Datonomites, admittedly in a rather nose-holding sort of way, but digging deep into the resilience formed by long familiarity with the DPA.

The Labour Party manifesto has a Neo-Maoist cartoon on the front page, with a Start-Rite nuclear family gazing anxiously into a sunlit Future Fair for All. Definitely not married then. Apparently the Party is proud of its record on Civil Liberties, presumably not its recent record. I believe there was a proposal in the Early Intervention and Crime Prevention section for a programme that spotted potential offenders the moment after conception, a capability based, I am reliably informed, on cross-over technology from the Large Hadron Collider. This, however, had to be dropped. But to be fair, there is a proposal, in the Public Services in the … Continue Reading ››
With so many UK developments to report on recently, Datonomy has only just caught up with this important announcement from the European Commission about the wider picture – namely the long-awaited reform of Directive 95/46/ EC. It forms part of a recent speech by Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission on "Next Steps for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship in the EU".

Datonomy readers may remember the Commissioner's previous announcement back in January which we reported here.
That was somewhat light on detail as to the proposed content and timetable for the revised Directive. The Commissioner's latest speech does not go a great deal further on the specifics, but here is the key extract (with points of particular interest highlighted):

"On privacy and data protection I have initiated the process leading up to the reform and modernisation … Continue Reading ››

Datonomy has a confession - and correction - to make. In my 6 April post, I announced the introduction of custodial sentences for the Section 55 offence of unlawfully obtaining personal data. This announcement was, of course, somewhat premature, as well-informed Datonomy readers will have spotted. My thanks to Osborne Clarke's eagle-eyed Head of Marketing and Privacy Law, Stephen Groom, for his most diplomatic email on this subject...
I would love to pretend that my unilateral introduction of custodial sentences was a sophisticated, if belated, April Fool's joke. But alas, it was just plain sloppy research on my part – a failure to check the statute book, no doubt fuelled by a deep conviction (no pun intended) on my part that - because both the current Government (in its October 2009 consultation paper)and the ICO (in its response document) … Continue Reading ››
Yesterday saw the publication online, on the website of the Official Journal of the European Union, of the following title:
The Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor on the amended proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the establishment of ‘Eurodac’ for the comparison of fingerprints for the effective application of Regulation (EC) No (…/…) (establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person), and on the proposal for a Council Decision on requesting comparisons with Eurodac data by Member States’ law enforcement authorities and Europol for law enforcement purposes.
Just to remind readers, Eurodac is a contraction of the words "European Dactyloscopy". the EU's database of fingerprints taken … Continue Reading ››
As we're sure Datonomy readers hardly need reminding, 6 April 2010, one of the UK's twice yearly "red tape days", marks the introduction of several important changes to the UK's enforcement regime. As reported previously on Datomomy, these are:

We trust that no Datonomy readers will ever find themselves on the receiving end of any of the above, and we wish all our readers a very Happy Red Tape Day!

So far as British schools are concerned, fingerprints were once mucky things that the cleaners had to erase, as far as possible, from painted surfaces, windows and library books. Now they raise concern of quite a different type. The BBC reports that, far from wiping prints away and occasionally reprimanding those who were so unwise to deposit them, many schools are now fingerprinting pupils without their parents' permission. It seems that around 100 British schools actually use fingerprint identification systems for registration, borrowing library books and cashless catering.

Says the BBC report:
"... there is no legal requirement for schools to seek parents' consent for using biometric technologies.

Critics say this is "outrageous" and have called for a "strong and explicit law" to cover this issue.

A spokesman for the Department for Children, Schools … Continue Reading ››