Category Archives: EU

I've spent the day wondering why I've heard nothing about Case C-28/08 P Commission of the European Communities v The Bavarian Lager Co. Ltd, even though Advocate General Eleanor Sharpston QC has delivered herself of a 226-paragraph provisional Opinion today. It's a data protection issue.

The Bavarian Lager Co. Ltd, disappointed that the Commission had discontinued proceedings against the United Kingdom for allegedly breaching Community regulations by keeping Bavarian brews out of British pubs, wanted the names of a number of parties who attended a meeting in 1996, during the course of the Commission's administrative procedures, which Bavarian Lager wished to attend but was not permitted to do so. Supported by the European Data Protection Supervisor, the company sued to get those names. The Court of First Instance annulled the Commission's decision not … Continue Reading ››

The European Commission has launched a consultation on the legal framework for the fundamental right to protection of personal data.
Short, sweet and online, it seeks views on three very broad issues:

  • new challenges for data protection, in particular in the light of new technologies and globalisation;
  • whether the current legal framework meets these challenges; and
  • what future action is needed to address such challenges.

The deadline for responding is 31 December 2009.

Datonomy readers will remember that the recent ICO - commissioned report by RAND has some thoughts on these issues. Datonomy readers will no doubt have a few suggestions of their own...

The European Court of Human Rights has issued its judgment in the case of Reklos and Davourlis v. Greece, holding that the taking of photographs of new-born children in hospital without the consent of their parents amounts to a violation of Article 8 of the ECHR.

The application was lodged by the parents of a child born in 1997 in a private clinic in Athens who had been placed in a sterile unit. As part of (an odd) photography service, two photographs of the baby were taken by a professional photographer. The parents naturally objected to this intrusion into the sterile environment without their prior consent. Following the clinic’s refusal to hand over the negatives of the photographs to them, the parents initiated unsuccessful civil proceedings against the hospital. The Greek Court of Cassation subsequently dismissed the appeal on points of law on … Continue Reading ››
In a move that has attracted surprise and some criticism, the European Commission is reported to have set up an advisory panel that includes Peter Fleischer (Google global privacy counsel) and David Hoffman (group counsel for eBusiness and privacy, Intel) to help it revise European Union laws on data protection. According to European Commission spokesman Michele Cercone,
"The aim of the group is to identify issues and challenges raised by new technologies. We are not reviewing the main data protection laws at present, but this could be a first step".
He added that the executives in question were chosen in their private capacity, rather than as representatives of their companies. The premise that underlies their invitation is that the EU's data protection laws are very "nineties" and are of decreasing relevance and applicability to the technologies of the 21st century.

Source: PC World
The European Parliament has adopted a report criticising the Council of Ministers for concluding an agreement with Australia on the processing and transfer of passenger name records (PNR) without consulting or even informing the European Parliament. MEPs are concerned about the consequences of the agreement for EU citizens' right to data protection.

The report was adopted with 610 votes in favour, 29 against and 47 abstentions. The House says the procedure followed for the conclusion of the agreement lacked democratic legitimacy, as at no stage was there any meaningful democratic scrutiny or parliamentary approval. Despite repeated requests, Parliament was neither informed nor consulted.
What effect will official encouragement by the European Commission have upon social networking? This vital and informal mode of information-sharing has now received the blessing of Viviane Reding, the Commissioner for Information Society and Media (CISM), in a speech on social networking which is the first public statement of the Commissioner on this subject. The speech was given at the Safer Internet Forum (details of the Minister's speech available via press release here). According to the press release, social networking sides also have started to raise new issues with regard to data privacy and protection of minors. That's why they are now on the agenda of the Safer Internet Forum.
Stephanie Bodoni (Bloomberg) reports that EU Justice Commissioner Jacques Barrot has welcomed Google Inc.'s decision to halve the time it stores information on users' search records. He describes this as "a step toward complying with EU privacy and data protection laws". Google said this week it will keep data for nine months, instead of the minimum 18-month period it introduced last year. Both US and European law and policy makers have argued that search engines keep too much personal data for too long and with little oversight of how they use them. The EU target for retained personal data remains six months.