Subject EC Data Protection Directive Revision
From Andrew Cormack <Andrew.Cormack@xxxxxx>
Date Fri, 9 Jul 2010 09:44:30 +0000

Probably relevant to my REFEDs work item on personal data laws. I attended a meeting in Brussels last week where the Commission were seeking input into their revision of the Data Protection Directive.

>From their briefing note I suspect the Commission were hoping this could be a relatively minor revision, with the major work being to incorporate the Justice and Home Affairs issues that are now covered since the Lisbon Treaty. However they get a very clear message, pretty much unanimous, that something urgently needs to be done for indirectly-linked identifiers (things like IP addresses and ePTID values). The current law lumps them in with directly linked identifiers (names, addresses, etc) and makes them subject to the same, heavy, level of regulation, even though they may actually present a much lower risk to privacy. Given the global transmission of such information the UK Information Commissioner has gone as far as saying it's now impossible to comply with European law and one of the other delegates at the meeting suggested the only way to comply would be to create a "Great Firewall of Europe" that stopped personal data flowing in or out!

So I'm expecting that things may get somewhat easier once the new law is in force - sadly the draft isn't likely to be published till the end of this year and then there's a lengthy process (perhaps several years) to get it in force :-(

There's a write-up of the meeting on my blog:


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