European Privacy developments at CFP05

By EDRi · April 20, 2005

European privacy developments and counter strategies from civil society
was one of the topics at the annual US privacy conference, Computers,
Freedoms and Privacy (CFP), last week in Seattle.

During the specific debate devoted to developments in Europe it became
clear that while EU countries used to be known for their strong privacy
legislation and oversight mechanisms, the last couple of years represent a
serious set-back in human rights protection. Examples discussed included
mandatory data retention, ID cards such as the recent French proposal,
transfer of passenger data and biometric identifiers on passports. The
mainly American audience was quite astonished about the amount of privacy
invasive measures, which have been introduced in Europe as part of the
‘war on terror’.

The panel also tried to analyse the differences in the civil society
landscape in US and Europe, and panelist Ivan Szekely gave some visionary
thoughts on how to strengthen and broaden the advocacy base in Europe,
i.e. by mainstreaming privacy advocacy into community activities of art
and sports. The panel also debated the trend of increased policy
laundering between national states and EU, and between US and Europe, with
the lack of democracy and transparency this implies.

In the panel was Meryem Marzouki from EDRI-member IRIS in France, Gus
Hosein from Privacy International and Ivan Szekely from Open Archives

Program CFP05

(Contribution by Rikke Frank Jørgensen from EDRI-member digital rights in
Denmark, moderator of the panel)