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(Sep 3, 2015) Greetings from Brussels! There was a relatively significant new appointment in the corridors of Brussels this week: Robert Madelin, former director general at DG CONNECT, has now been appointed senior adviser for innovation at the European Political Strategy Centre, an internal think tank advising European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. On his appointment, Madelin commented that big data is going to come into play everywhere. “We are at a time of such pervasive disruption and accele... Read More

Europe Data Protection Digest

Commission’s New Innovation Head: Privacy Should Not Be Sectorial

(Sep 3, 2015) EurActiv interviewed this week Robert Madelin, a lifelong civil servant who, on 1 September, took over the role of senior advisor for innovation at the European Political Strategy Centre, an internal think tank that advises Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Madelin, most recently head of DG Connect, which oversaw telecommunications and digital affairs at the Commission, spoke broadly about data. First, he noted that most data is not personal and that “big data” does not necessarily imply... Read More

Europe Data Protection Digest

UN’s Cannataci on Lack of Surveillance Oversight

(Sep 3, 2015) Speaking with RT, UN Special Rapporteur on Privacy Joseph Cannataci, who heads the department of Information Policy and Governance at the University of Malta, said the lack of oversight for UK surveillance activities is “worse than a bad joke” and possibly “downright dangerous.” Specifically, he said the three bodies with oversight powers, the Information Commissioner’s Office, the Intelligence and Security Committee and the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, are all under-resourced and incapable of undertaking the work necessary to keep in check “one of the largest intelligence set-ups in the Western world.” Read More

Europe Data Protection Digest

ICO Offers Opinion on GDPR Texts

(Sep 3, 2015) In a whitepaper, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) offers its thoughts on the current negotiations over competing texts for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), currently in the trilogue process. “We thought it would be useful,” the paper reads, “to set out our observations on the parts of the Council text that we consider to be most in need of improvement.” The highlights include a warning against the proliferation of “different data protection regimes” stemming from a we... Read More

Europe Data Protection Digest

GDS Creates Privacy Officer Role

(Sep 3, 2015) In its efforts to ensure GOV.UK Verify meets privacy requirements and gives its users what they expect, Government Digital Service (GDS) has created a new privacy officer’s position, Computing reports. Toby Stevens, GOV.UK Verify’s independent privacy adviser, is “taking on the privacy officer duties on an interim basis” while GDS fills the role, the report states. “The privacy officer will provide a focal point for decisions that may affect the use of personal data, and manage the dialogue between developers at GDS, GOV.UK Verify users, certified companies and departments offering services through GOV.UK Verify," Stevens said, noting the privacy officer will also work with organizations such as the Information Commissioner's Office. Read More

Europe Data Protection Digest

Intelligence-Gathering Bill Raises Concerns

(Sep 3, 2015) Reuters reports on a draft government bill aimed at reforming intelligence-gathering that is prompting privacy concerns. The Netherlands Institute for Human Rights is concerned that the bill “will grant security agencies far-reaching surveillance powers with insufficient protection of privacy,” the report states. The government, however, believes the bill brings “badly needed modernization of intelligence-gathering methods and improve internal security, without violating privacy,” the report states. Government spokesman Tijs Manten said, “We think that the balance between safety and privacy in the draft is just,” while the institute points to the draft legislation allowing the government “to authorize tapping of private Internet and telephone data” as reason for concern. Read More

Europe Data Protection Digest

ICO Probes Charity Data Use; Says Strong Interest in Privacy Seals

(Sep 3, 2015) Computing reports the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is investigating the data-sharing practices of the charity sector after reports that some organizations may be profiting from donor contact data. Information Commissioner Christopher Graham described the allegations as “clearly concerning” and said the ICO is currently trying to “work out exactly what has happened.” Some of the charities named in the investigation have defended their practices. Separately, the ICO has said there are “... Read More

Europe Data Protection Digest

Leaked Data Fuels Bank Scams, Gov’t Data Mining

(Sep 3, 2015) The leaked data stolen from infidelity site Ashley Madison continues to pose problems for individuals in new and malicious ways, according to two separate reports. Fraudsters are currently trying to take advantage of the leaked data, and data stolen from Carphone Warehouse, to trick people into disclosing their bank details, The Independent reports. Meanwhile, according to The Telegraph, UK intelligence agencies are mining Ashley Madison data to see if their own staff could be targeted for black... Read More

Europe Data Protection Digest

DPA Issues Anonymisation Guide

(Sep 3, 2015) Norway’s Data Protection Authority (DPA), Datatilsynet, has issued a guide on anonymising personal information, Privacy This Week reports. The DPA’s guide “provides practical guidance for data controllers on the considerations to be made prior to anonymising data and highlights Datatilsynet's opinion on the effectiveness of different anonymisation methods,” the report states. DLA Piper’s Cecilie Ronnevik notes the guide is needed because “Datatilsynet has, over the years, found that there are severe misunderstandings regarding the definition of identifiable personal data.” Along with anonymisation, the guide also considers the topic of pseudonymisation, the report notes. Read More

Europe Data Protection Digest

Will Guidelines Help Wearables Gain Consumer Trust?

(Sep 3, 2015) Wearables are in demand: Some estimates exceed more than $100 billion in annual sales by 2018. Fitness trackers and other wearable devices help chronicle daily steps, monitor sleep and track other useful data—providing obvious benefits for users looking to improve their health and productivity. Privacy and security experts worry, however, that this immense amount of extremely personal data could end up in the wrong hands. In this exclusive for The Privacy Advisor, Anura Fernando looks at what can be done. Read More

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