ad info

 
CNN.com  technology > computing
    Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback  

 

  Search
 
 

 
TECHNOLOGY
TOP STORIES

Consumer group: Online privacy protections fall short

Guide to a wired Super Bowl

Debate opens on making e-commerce law consistent

(MORE)

TOP STORIES

More than 11,000 killed in India quake

Mideast negotiators want to continue talks after Israeli elections

(MORE)

MARKETS
4:30pm ET, 4/16
144.70
8257.60
3.71
1394.72
10.90
879.91
 


WORLD

U.S.

POLITICS

LAW

ENTERTAINMENT

HEALTH

TRAVEL

FOOD

ARTS & STYLE



(MORE HEADLINES)
*
 
CNN Websites
Networks image


EU rejects U.S. data privacy protection as inadequate

IDG.net

July 7, 2000
Web posted at: 10:53 a.m. EDT (1453 GMT)

BRUSSELS (IDG) -- The European Parliament rejected the current system of U.S. data privacy protection Wednesday, contending that it does not represent the adequate level of protection required by European legislation, because the system of "safe harbor" principles is not yet in place in the U.S.

  ALSO
 

The vote, however, might have little impact on the transatlantic agreement reached earlier this year between the European Commission and the U.S government, recognizing the U.S. system based on safse harbor principles as representing adequate protection, an EU official who asked not to be identified told IDG on Thursday.

Although the European Parliament represents voters in the 15 member states of the EU, in May those 15 governments agreed with the Commission that the U.S. system presented adequate standards of privacy as defined by a 1995 EU directive. That directive stipulated that personal data from databases maintained in the EU could only be transmitted to countries outside the EU provided they respected similar standards of data privacy.

MORE COMPUTING INTELLIGENCE
IDG.net   IDG.net home page
  Make your PC work better with these tips
  ITWorld.com
  E-BusinessWorld
  TechInformer: The Thinking Internaut's Guide to the Tech Industry
  Reviews & in-depth info at IDG.net
  How-to and advice from IDG.net
  Download free PC software from PCWorld.com
  Questions about computers? Let IDG.net's editors help you
  Product reviews and computing news from IDG.net
  Search IDG.net in 12 languages
  News Radio
  * Fusion audio primers
  * Computerworld Minute

However, the European Parliament has decided otherwise.

"The Parliament takes the view that the adequacy of the (U.S.) system cannot be confirmed and, consequently, the free movement of data cannot be authorized until all the components of the safe harbor system are operational and the United States authorities have informed the Commission that these conditions have been fulfilled," according to the opinion drafted by Elena Ornella Paciott, an Italian member of the Parliament's Socialist Group.

The Parliament's plenary session endorsed this position 279-259, with 22 abstentions.

Although the Parliament's opinion is not legally binding, it would nevertheless be politically delicate for the Commission to publicly ignore the warning. Indeed, the Commission is downplaying the situation until it has examined how best to respond to the Parliament's vote.

"The Commission is disappointed that the European Parliament did not give us a clear endorsement. We will now carefully study the resolution and reflect on the next step," said Jonathan Todd, the spokesman for Frits Bolkestein, European Internal Market Commissioner, in an interview.

But other sources question the importance of the European Parliament vote.

"The European Parliament's opinion is not binding, and if the Commission complies with the negative opinion, it sets a dangerous precedent for the powers of the Commission in the future," said an EU official who asked not to be identified.

As a result, perhaps as soon as later this month, but more probably in September, Commissioner Bolkestein will propose that the full Commission formally recognize the U.S. safe harbor principles as representing adequate data privacy standards, the official said.

Earlier this year, the Commission reached an agreement with the U.S. that a system based on safe harbor principles did represent adequate levels of data privacy, after the U.S. administration agreed to reinforce consumer access rights and set up dispute settlement procedures for consumers.

The safe harbor principles require that a company seek explicit agreement of a data subject before transferring personal data to another company. It also gives the data subject reasonable access to personal data to review and possibly correct it.

The principles also require organizations using personal information to "take reasonable precautions to protect it from loss, misuse and unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration and destruction," according to EU documents.




RELATED STORIES:
U.S. prepares to battle EU over wireless spectrum
May 8, 2000
U.K. plan to open Internet spy center draws criticism
May 1, 2000
EU vote on privacy agreement due this week
March 28, 2000
Is the U.S. stealing trade secrets from the EU?
March 27, 2000
U.S., EU to meet on data privacy
January 18, 2000

RELATED IDG.net STORIES:
U.S.-EU Net privacy proposal in peril
(The Industry Standard)
Group issues privacy guidelines for Net marketers
(The Industry Standard)
U.K. government pulls back on cybersnoop bill
(IDG.net)
U.S. safe harbor wins EU approval
(IDG.net)
EU-US privacy deal rotten, observers say
(IDG.net)
EU and US reach data privacy accord
(IDG.net)
EU goes slow on consumer privacy
(The Industry Standard)

RELATED SITES:
The European Parliament
International Safe Harbor Privacy Principles

Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

 Search   

Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.