Privacy Law

Governments urged to strengthen international privacy law

At the 35th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners, data protection and privacy commissioners adopted resolutions on a number of important privacy issues. Strengthening international privacy law and web tracking were just two interesting topics.

Governments urged to strengthen international privacy law ©-IckeT-Fotolia

Governments urged to strengthen international privacy law ©-IckeT-Fotolia

International conference on data protection and privacy

The annual international privacy conference discusses international data protection and privacy issues.

The conference publishes resolutions calling for the adoption of global standards. Although not legally binding, the resolutions have strong political importance.

International privacy law

The delegates resolved to call on governments to strengthen international privacy law by advocating the adoption of global standards guaranteeing the data protection and the protection of privacy.

The conference calls for these standards to be enshrined in a legally binding protocol to Art 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Art 17 of covenant prohibits states from arbitrarily or unlawfully interfering with citizens’ privacy, family, home or correspondence.

Web tracking

A further resolution adopted by the international data protection conference calls for internet users’ privacy to be better protected from abusive web tracking.

Through web tracking, also known as web analysis, data on internet users’ surfing habits are collected over a long period of time and then analysed in order to create profiles and optimise websites. These user profiles are often used for commercial purposes without the user’s knowledge.

The resolution calls on service providers to respect the core privacy principles of transparency, purpose limitation and individual control.

Political will

Given the recent scandal with intelligence agencies seemingly accessing personal data without restraint, the discussion on internet privacy is timely.

While the resolutions of the international privacy conference carry political urgency, it remains to be seen whether governments will listen to the data protection commissioners’ appeal and integrate a legally binding text on international data protection and privacy standards into the ICCPR.

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Christian Solmecke is a partner at the law firm WILDE BEUGER SOLMECKE. He is the author of numerous legal publications in the area of internet and IT law. He is also an associate lecturer for social media law at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences.

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