Senior adviser calls for stronger EU data protection laws

Europe needs to reform its laws to create a framework that harmonizes national legislation, says Peter Hustinx

By Jennifer Baker, IDG News Service |  Internet

Europe needs strong and effective data protection, the European data protection supervisor said Monday.

Responding to the recent European Commission communication on data protection reform, Peter Hustinx underlined the importance of a clear legal framework that harmonizes national data protection legislation, particularly in societies where private information is widely gathered without individuals' knowledge.

He also called for a technologically neutral approach, the inclusion of the principles of privacy by design and accountability, and the introduction of a mandatory security breach notification covering all relevant sectors.

"Data protection is not an abstract thing. It relates to everybody's life, every moment of every day. There is no room for mistakes here: the challenges are enormous. That is why the proposed solutions must be equally ambitious and actually enhance the effectiveness of the instruments of data protection," he said.

Last month the Commission announced that it is taking Austria to court for failing to establish an independent data protection authority and in March the European Court of Justice declared Germany in breach of E.U. rules on the independence of its data protection authority. Meanwhile, the U.K. is in hot water for allowing BT to secretly test Phorm's snooping technology without informing customers.

The European Commission is currently reviewing its data protection and data retention directives.

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