Irish drop objection as EU approves data protection agreement with Israel

Last month Datonomy reported that objections by the Republic of Ireland had delayed completion of a data adequacy agreement between Israel and the EU (see Datonomy post “Irish politicking delays Israeli EU Data Protection Deal“).

However, reports in the press this week (see the article in Israel’s Jerusalem Post newspaper at http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=192913) seem to suggest that on 25 October 2010 the EU formally approved the adequacy of Israel’s “Privacy Act” despite Irish reservations. Datonomy has been unable to locate any official EU source confirming this development. [Ed – are any of our readers able to point to an official EU statement?]

EU approval elevates Israel to an elite group of countries whom the EU deems have sufficiently adequate data protection laws, until this announcement that group included only Argentina, Canada, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, Jersey, Switzerland and the Faroe Islands.

If confirmed, Israel’s data adequacy agreement with the EU is as much a political victory for Israel as a legal one, since Israel argues it has unfairly faced opposition, particularly from the Republic of Ireland, to its attempts to forge closer cooperation and integration with the European Union and its institutions.

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