Things that caught our eye

EU Data Protection Supervisor: Internet of Things without thought given to privacy is “a disaster happening in slow motion.”

27 Oct , 2014  | by:

The European Data Protection Supervisor (EUDPS), who “is an independent supervisory authority devoted to protecting personal data and privacy and promoting good practice in the EU institutions and bodies”, recently gave a speech in Mauritius on account of the 36th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners . In his speech (PDF), the EUDPS Peter Hustinx, dealt with the difficulties of enforcing privacy laws which are restricted to territorial borders in a world of “borderless Internet technology”.

Two of the examples he gave of  problems in this area I would like to highlight here. In relation to the Internet of Things (IoT) he mentioned:

“[W]e have heard at this conference that very few objects or devices for the future IoT are being devised with serious attention for privacy implications. Therefore, boxes with diverse gadgets, just being sent off to other parts of the world, without any thought given or information provided on privacy aspects, are simply a disaster happening in slow motion.”

Futhermore, in relation to the Google Spain Case and the Right To Be Forgotten, on which  Stefan Kulk & Rehana Harasgama here at the iii wrote earlier, the EUDPS also had some comments:

[T]he highly critical and sometimes aggressive reactions to the recent CJEU judgment in the Google Spain case show a disconnect between the assumption that available information can be re-used and the requirement that processing of personal information must always be legitimate and may be subject to rights of erasure or objection by the data subjects.

The remainder of the speech deals with questions on feasibility of privacy in a borderless world, which provides for an interesting status quo of what is done in this area.

Read the full speech here.

Interesting final note. Peter Hustinx, is currently the EU Data Protection Supervisor, but the procedure for appointing his successor is in full swing. Latest development here is that his current assistant, Giovanni Buttarelli, has received the most votes in the Civil Liberties Committee last week, and will therefore be the most likely successor of Mr. Hustinx for the role of EU Data Protection Supervisor.


Image Credit: “Internet of Things” by Wilgengebroed on Flickr – Cropped and sign removed from Internet of things signed by the author.jpg. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons


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