European Commission disbanded data protection experts group

By EDRi · February 25, 2009

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: [Europäische Kommission löst Expertengruppe für Datenschutz auf |]
Macedonian: [Европската комисија расформира група за заштита на |,mk/]

The European Commission has decided to dismantle a group of experts that
needed to review the European Data Protection Directive.

The group was formed after a tendering process and included: Peter
Fleischer, global privacy counsel for Google, David Hoffman, director of
security policy and global privacy officer for Intel; Henriette Tielemans a
privacy lawyer from a US law firm, Christopher Kuner, a privacy lawyer with
another US law firm; and Jacob Kohnstamm, chairman of the Dutch data
protection authority.

Alex Türk, the French Data Protection Authority President and the Chairman
of Article 29 Working Party, has complained about the biased structure of
the group explaining to a French Senate committee that the group was
composed “four-fifths of personalities representing American interests.” The
committee submitting a resolution stating it was “unacceptable” that four
members of the group “are either from American companies or law firms whose
principal establishment is in the U.S.”

The group had just one meeting at the end of the last year and even though
they were gathered for a one-year mandate the Commissioner Barrot, who is
also a French, decided to disband the group and to broaden the consultation
on the review of the 1995 data protection directive.

In fact Türk asked Barrot to look into the matter, and the latter
acknowledged that “the situation was abnormal”. Türk explained that part of
the problem was that there were major conceptual differences between the EU
and US data protection principles: “Europeans must note that the gap is big
between the American vision and the European vision.”

Draft Resolution regarding the nomination by the European Commission of an
expert group on data protection. (6.02.2009)

European Commission Disbands Privacy Group (17.02.2009)