PL&B International E-news, Issue 67

1. Art. 29 DP Working Party decides that IP addresses are personal data

The Art. 29 Data Protection Working Party (the group of EU member states’ national Data Protection Commissioners) decided at its meeting earlier this week, on February 19th, that “Search engines fall under the EU Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC if there are controllers collecting users’ IP addresses or search history information, and therefore have to comply with relevant provisions.” The decision also makes it clear that this decision applies to controllers, such as Google, with their headquarters outside the EU. A letter explaining this policy to Google was also published.

The same meeting adopted a document “dealing with the legal and practical aspects of children and the protection of their privacy.” This document, for which the preparation had been led by Portugal, covers principles and policies in schools. A later document may deal with internet and online issues related to children.

France’s Data Protection Commissioner, Alex Turk, was elected chair and Jacob Kohnstamm, President of the Netherlands Data Protection Commission, was elected vice-chair, of the Art. 29 DPWP for the next two years.

2. European Court decides on copyright vs. privacy right

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) decided on January 29th that it is up to individual EU member states to decide whether Internet Service Providers should disclose addresses of subscribers in non-criminal cases. In an action brought by a copyright royalty collecting body in Spain, the ECJ ruled that it was up to each member’s national courts to decide if Internet Service Providers should or should not be required to make such disclosures, balancing the right to property and the right to personal privacy. Click here for further information about subscribing to the international newsletter.

Copyright Privacy Laws & Business 2008