PL&B International E-news, Issue 42

  1. Art 29 DP Working Party adopts Opinion on whistleblowing schemes
  2. PL&B's Washington Director, Jane Horvath, appointed Chief Privacy Officer at US Department of Justice
  3. AOL sues gangs in Virginia, USA, over identity thefts, using new law

1. Art 29 DP Working Party adopts Opinion on whistleblowing schemes

The Art 29 Data Protection Working Party, consisting of the 25 Member States’ Data Protection Authorities and the European Commission and the EU DP Supervisor, issued an Opinion on February 1st (WP 117) “on the application of EU data protection rules to internal whistleblowing schemes in the fields of accounting, internal accounting controls, auditing matters, fight against bribery, banking and financial crime.” The Opinion deliberately excluded schemes which included other issues, such as Human Resources matters and environmental damage but the Working Party declared that it would return to this issue later.

There is an article on this Opinion, comparing it with last November’s decision on whistleblowing by France’s DPA, the CNIL, in the PL&B International Newsletter published today. For further information click here

2. PL&B's Washington Director, Jane Horvath, appointed Chief Privacy and Civil Liberties Officer at US Department of Justice

Jane Horvath, who has served as Director of Privacy Laws & Business's Washington DC office since mid-2005 took up a new appointment on February 20th as Chief Privacy and Civil Liberties Officer of the United States Department of Justice reporting to the Deputy Attorney General.

Her new job will be to lead the privacy function at the Department of Justice. In addition to her responsibilities regarding the U.S. Privacy Act and E-Government Act, she will also be wrestling with a number of privacy/civil liberties issues that have arisen with regard to the United States increased security after September 11, 2001.

Her work will certainly focus on the United States’ use of commercial information -- an area which she focused on at PL&B where she wrote an article entitled, "US Department of Homeland Security grapples with the risks of using commercial data" (which appeared in Privacy Laws & Business International December 2005 pp.18-20). As security does not stop at the U.S. borders, Jane's insights into the international privacy arena, gained while working with Privacy Laws & Business, were undoubtedly a factor in securing her new job.

Stewart Dresner, Chief Executive, Privacy Laws & Business, says: "In the time that Jane has been with Privacy Laws & Business, she has been a major asset in providing insights into the US privacy scene and the international privacy law information needs among major corporations in the United States. In addition, she has been helpful in preparing for our first workshop in the USA, to be held in Washington DC on March 8th on "Negotiating Successful Binding Corporate Rules Programs for International Transfers of Personal Data; Hot Privacy Issues for HR Managers in the European Union".

We at Privacy Laws & Business wish Jane success in her new role and will miss her valuable contributions."

3. AOL sues in Virginia USA over identity thefts, using new law

America Online said on February 28th that it had filed lawsuits this week against three identity theft gangs, seeking combined damages of $18 million.

AOL, the online division of Time Warner, said that it had filed three civil suits in Alexandria's U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, charging phishing gangs with tricking its members with fake Web sites of legitimate companies to fool them into giving up personal information.

The suits were filed under Virginia's anti-phishing statute, adopted in July 2005, the Federal Lanham Act, a trademark law, and the Federal Computer Fraud & Abuse Act, an anti-spam, or junk mail law.

Source: Reuters

There is an article in the PL&B February/March International Newsletter, published yesterday, on the prospects of data protection laws in Europe being used to require companies to inform consumers of data security problems, as required by California’s data breach notification law and other similar laws in the USA.

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