As a Friday bonus, I make available the speech by Kenneth Clarke, UK's Cabinet Minister responsible for data protection about the forthcoming data protection changes in the Directive (see references).
In summary, if the EU does not change its tack, the UK will either disagree with the proposed changes or delay matters as it did with Directive 95/46/EC. The UK does not like the inclusion of law enforcement agencies, nor the right to forget, nor most suggested major changes if one is to be honest. The speech does not mention the fact that the European Commission has argued that 40% of the UK’s Data Protection Act is non compliant with the provisions of that Directive.
The following are extracts from the speech:
Keep the broad principles of the existing Directive and better understand the 27 laws we all in our nation states have, rather than setting out to create in detail an additional 28th radically different, and artificial new set of laws.
Let’s “not rewrite our respective statutes and codes from scratch”.
“The ‘right to be forgotten’ sounds a simple idea. But you don’t need to think about it for long to see it poses all kind of difficulties.”
There is a risk that a new provision will “ impinge on free speech, and to censor information which has been legitimately circulated in the public domain”.
A whole range of vital services that consumers rely upon critically depend, in turn, on the availability of data. “Without reasonably portable health records for example, it’s hard to see how medical services can operate sensibly. Without appropriately regulated data on credit histories, then loans and mortgages might in future be very limitedly available – and might even only be available to the very wealthy”.
"The Commission has also spoken of plans to revise radically the data protection rules in the area of law enforcement". The Minister would not have said this if he agreed!
I also think the Government is still in favour of mass data retention and collection (e.g. Passenger Name Records and the retention of communications data). Kenneth Clarke says: “That’s why the UK also views with caution the Commission’s apparent intention to revise the whole Data Retention Directive.
"A final area of concern raised by the Commission is the question of ‘extra-territoriality’ – which appears to be putting forward the idea that European standards should apply to any firm processing EU citizens’ data anywhere in the world. “ But I do think, as a lawyer, it’s wrong to view the extension of the application of European Union law on a global scale as some simple and unquestioned process.”
"But my fear is that on many of these issues good intentions need to be thought through and, taken too simplistically forward, good intentions could prove counter-productive".
Have a good weekend and bank holiday
Down load Kenneth Clarke’s speech here: Download Kenneth clarke final speech as delivered
Commission’s view of what is wrong with the UK’s implementation of the Data Protection Act; detailed reasons available from references at end of https://amberhawk.typepad.com/amberhawk/2011/05/privacy-new-government-revelations-amplify-concerns-surrounding-deficiencies-in-uks-data-protection-.html
The next DP courses start on July 13 in London. Next Update is October 17th 2011 in London. We have timetabled our Audit, Privacy Impact Assessment, and RIPA courses for September 12th, 13th and 14th in London. Full details on the Amberhawk main site (www.amberhawk.com).