PL&B International E-news, Issue 70

1. Israel announces twinning programme with Spain

On 20th July, Israel’s Data Protection Authority received confirmation that the Spanish Data Protection Agency’s offer for a twinning project: "Strengthening Data Protection in Israel" had been selected as the winner of this European Union funded tender. The next steps are finalization of a detailed agreement for the project. Israel plans to start the programme by the end of 2008.

Spain’s Agencia, the Data Protection Authority, will send an experienced data protection expert to Israel for a period of 18 months who will provide consultancy to Israel’s DPA, the ILITA. Strengthening enforcement of the law will be an important feature of this consultancy. In addition to its own experts from Spain’s DPA, the Spanish offer included other specialists from several European Data Protection Authorities including those from the United Kingdom, France and Italy.

Israel has applied to the European Commission for a declaration of adequacy of its data protection law compared with the EU’s Data Protection Directive. The earliest such an application would be accepted is 2009.

2. EU DP Working Party endorses speedier BCRs

At its plenary session in Brussels on 24 and 25 June 2008, the EU Article 29 Data Protection Working Party adopted a “toolbox” on Binding Corporate Rules, model information notices for consistent information to air passengers, an Opinion on the proposed E-Privacy amended directive and its annual report.

3. Strasbourg Court rules against British telephone-tapping

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled unanimously earlier this month that the United Kingdom violated the right to privacy under the European Convention on Human Rights by having legislation that allowed for secret surveillance of telecommunications. The Court said that the Interception of Communication Act 1985 allows the UK’s authorities ‘extremely broad discretion’ to intercept and store communications between the United Kingdom and an external receiver.

The Court described the discretion as ‘virtually unlimited.’ The UK Government conceded that ‘in principle, any person who sent or received any form of telecommunication outside the British Islands during the period in question could have had their communication intercepted’ Under the 1985 Act, ‘the authorities had wide discretion to decide which communications, out of the total volume of those physically captured, were listened to or read.'

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Copyright Privacy Laws & Business 2008