Platform responsibility? Get the backstory - check my book The Closing of the Net - only £15.99!

Data Protection and Privacy

The protection of personal data and privacy is an increasingly hot  political issue concerning  the European Union. This section will report on the controversies entailed in the processing of the  Regulation on Protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation). The rapporteur was German Green lawyer, MEP Jan Albrecht. He had a tough time and ultimately produced a compromise that was not entirely satisfactory for either industry of citizen advocates.

If you are interested in data protection policy and the genesis of the GDPR,   you may like my book The Closing of the Net which discusses how the policy was influenced by State and non-State actors.

UK intelligence services have been taking advantage of gaps in the international rules to conduct bulk interception of Internet traffic.  That practice came under scrutiny in the European Court of Human Rights, in a ruling that was released this week.

 The case of Big Brother Watch and Others v the United Kingdom was brought to the Court by human rights activist groups who were concerned about the mass online surveillance being carried out by UK intelligence services. It has resulted in a ruling that lays out essential ground rules for protecting privacy.  

Read more: UK bulk intercept surveillance - court ruling calls for tighter safeguards

The European Parliament  today adopted a data protection package  that is being described as 'historic' and monumental'.  The new EU measures  update data protection rules for the era of the Internet and social media, including the use of data by  police  and law enforcement. The hot buttons have been the transfer of data outside the EU – especially to the United States -  and how the large digital corporations may exploit data for commercial purposes. For whose benefit is this law and how should we regard it?

Read more: EU 'historic' data protection rules highlight privacy paradox

The Home Secretary says it is world leading. Not all people agree with that. Some think it is leading the world over a cliff”.  Not my words but those of David Anderson Q.C. speaking yesterday at a symposium on the Investigatory Powers Bill hosted by 25 Bedford Row barristers chambers.

The  Investigatory Powers Bill comes up for scrutiny  in Parliament tomorrow, as the British government tries to push it through before the end of the year. This is the controversial new law  that will govern electronic surveillance. But legal experts, who are not usually given to emotive language, say the Bill is bad  law,  and nothing more than window dressing.  From a public interest perspective, the government is rushing the Bill unnecessarily. How safe will our data be under the proposed regime?  Will we fall over a digital cliff as the spooks get to play with our Internet connection records?

This report is my interpretation of the legal arguments presented at the 25 Bedford Row symposium on the Investigatory Powers Bill.

Read more: Investigatory Powers Bill - is it leading the world over a cliff?

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States v the 'Net? 

Read The Closing of the Net, by me, Monica Horten.

"original and valuable"  Times higher Education

" essential read for anyone interested in understanding the forces at play behind the web." ITSecurity.co.uk

Find out more about the book here  The Closing of the Net

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Copyright Enforcement Enigma launch, March 2012

In 2012, I presented my PhD research in the European Parliament.

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Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten. She is a policy analyst specialising in Internet governance & European policy, including platform accountability. She is a published author & Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics & Political Science. She served as an independent expert on the Council of Europe Committee on  Internet Freedom. She has worked on CoE, EU and UNDP funded projects in eastern Europe and the Caucasus. In a voluntary capacity, she has led UK citizen delegations to the European Parliament. She was shortlisted for The Guardian Open Internet Poll 2012.

Iptegrity  offers expert insights into Internet policy (and related issues on Brexit). Iptegrity has a core readership in the Brussels policy community, and has been cited in the media. Please acknowledge Iptegrity when you cite or link.  For more, see IP politics with integrity

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