Big tech accountability? Read how we got here in  The Closing of the Net 

Data Protection and Privacy

The protection of personal data and privacy is an area where the  European Union is a global leader. In 2022, the US is looking at how to implement privacy legislation for online platforms, and the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is what they look to.

I wrote about the legislative journey of the GDPR in my book The Closing of the Net. 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.

But the undercurrent to privacy policy is all about surveillance, and nowhere more so, sadly, than in the UK. In 2022, the UK wants to force private platform providers to break encryption on communications between users. The policy battles around privacy did not stop with GDPR. They will continue for many years to come.

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.

 It’s becoming clear that the fate of the  EU’s privacy law reform, namely the Data Protection Regulation, could be decided by institutional deal-making in Brussels. The Civil Liberties (LIBE) committee in the European Parliament is to  be formally asked for permission to enter into negotiations with the Council  - also known as trilogues. If the trilogues go ahead – still an ‘if ’ - it means that the three EU institutions will

Read more: Closed-door trilogues are on the data privacy agenda

The European Parliament yesterday voted on a Resolution regarding PRISM – the  spy system used by United States government agencies to look at the emails and web browsing habits of EU citizens. The Resolution calls condemns the electronic surveillance of European citizens by the United States and by the UK governments,  but it falls a long way short of the expectations of citizens who feel that their privacy could have been put at risk.  In particular, it fails to take advantage of the EU-US trade talks (TTIP)  as a political weapon that could have been wielded to advantage.

Read more: PRISM: MEPs fall short of calling halt to trade talks

It may seem to be a paradox that a law concerning protection of people’s secrets should be legislated in the open, but in fact, the paradox is the other way around.

 Secret trilogue negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers are being proposed as a way to get around the impasse of 3000+ amendments on the Data Protection Regulation. It has been mooted that the trilogues could commence prior to the Parliament’s  Civil Liberties (LIBE) committee vote in October. But would such a move be ethical? And more importantly, what are the ethics of legislating on people’s privacy rights?

Read more: Cloak of secrecy hangs over EU privacy reform

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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.

Iptegrity in brief

 

Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I’ve been analysing analysing digital policy since 2008. Way back then, I identified how issues around rights can influence Internet policy, and that has been a thread throughout all of my research. I hold a PhD in EU Communications Policy from the University of Westminster (2010), and a Post-graduate diploma in marketing. I am on the Advisory Council of the Open Rights Group.  I’ve served as an independent expert on the Council of Europe  Committee on Internet Freedoms, and was involved in a capacity building project in Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine. For more, see About Iptegrity

Iptegrity.com is made available free of charge for  non-commercial use, Please link-back & attribute Monica Horten. Thank you for respecting this.

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