The German state of Rhineland-Palatinate (German: Rheinland-Pfalz) recently caused some amusement amongst the internet community. Despite long resistance from the state's Data Protection Commissioner Edgar Wagner, Rhineland-Palatinate finally went online with its own Facebook fan page in January – however, not without Mr Wagner imposing a "feedback-channel-ban" that requests all government agencies not to answer user questions on Facebook. Users who seek specific answers from the state government via its Facebook fan page are now referred to other ways of communication such as e-mail or the state's official websites. The motivation behind this is, of course, data protection. Mr Wagner wants to keep the state's fan page clear of any user interaction in order to avoid user data being generated by Facebook. According to Mr Wagner, Rhineland-Palatinate did not want to stay completely out of Facebook as the social network offered good opportunities to provide information to its citizens. The state's presence on … Continue Reading ››
Today  is Data Protection Day and in the spirit of the occasion, Datonomy thought it would do its bit for privacy awareness. For the uninitiated, Data Protection Day was initiated by the Council of Europe in 2006 to "celebrate the anniversary of the opening for signature of the Council of Europe's Convention 108 for the Protection of individuals with regard to automatic processing of personal data", which was in 1981, thus making the discipline of data protection a mature, but still relatively youthful, 32. The Council of Europe's website goes on "The aim of the Data Protection Day is to give everyone a chance to understand what personal data is collected and processed and why, and what our rights are with respect to this processing…Each interested member state, national or international body is encouraged to participate. The Data Protection Day is intended to be organised in a flexible and decentralised manner … Continue Reading ››
Most Datonomy readers will already be aware of this morning's news of a £250,000 ICO fine for Sony over the 2011 PlayStation hack, which Sony reportedly intends to appeal. The ICO published the monetary penalty notice this morning, with Deputy Commissioner David Smith appearing on YouTube "making no apologies" for the size of the fine (the largest imposed on a private sector organisation to date, and the third largest fine ever imposed by the ICO). Understandably, much of the factual detail and specifics on the vulnerabilities of the system have been redacted to avoid compounding the risks to Sony's system by giving future hackers a helping hand. This makes for a slightly frustrating reading experience, and inevitably limits the insight which the decision gives practitioners into the specifics of what might or might not constitute appropriate security in the given context. So, what can we usefully take from the Sony … Continue Reading ››
Datonomy has been reading the draft report of Rapporteur Jan Philipp Albrecht on the proposed Data Protection Regulations – all 215 pages of it!  The full report (available here) was discussed today by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of the European Parliament and although it is not binding on the Committee or on the Parliament itself, it will carry significant weight during the upcoming negotiation phase of the draft Regulation. What is clear from the report is that both the Commission and the Rapporteur are strongly supportive of radical reform to the current data protection regime. After the report was published Vivianne Reding, EC Commissioner for justice, fundamental rights and citizenship, tweeted that she is "looking forward to swift adoption by both EP [the European Parliament] and Council" of the new data protection regulation. Momentum is building. The helpful: