Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Removing icebergs in transatlantic data protection?

Yesterday a High Level Conference on Privacy and Protection of Personal Data took place under auspicies of the European Commission and the US Secretary of Commerce.

"This is a defining moment for global personal data protection and privacy policy and for achieving further interoperability of our systems on a high level of protection. On January 25, 2012, the European Commission adopted legislative proposals to reform and strengthen the fundamental right to data protection and unify the EU’s data protection laws and enforcement rules. On February 23, 2012, the United States released its privacy blueprint, including the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights." from the joint statement (to be found here)

The cooperation between EU and US as far as data protection is concerned is necessary, taking into account the global character of the internet and the difficulties with enforcement of national rules if there is no international framework to protect privacy. With that in mind both parties reaffirmed their commitments to the US-EU Safe Harbor Framework yesterday. Unfortunately, specifics of the conference were not revealed (yet?). One cannot help but wonder whether and if yes, what kind of further harmonisation measures were discussed and whether the whole project will sink under the weight of differences in existing and planned regualtions.

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