eu: Playing a dangerous game with data

MEPs are in danger of striking the wrong balance between the right to privacy and intellectual propertyThanks to a collapsed ceiling in its Strasbourg chamber, the European parliament will have to stay in Brussels for its plenary session later this month. Yet it would be fanciful to imagine that the respite offered to MEPs from their exhausting high-carbon commute will make them more clear-headed than normal when crafting legislation. For many of them appear intent on using the occasion to mount an ill-conceived attack on civil liberties.Around the same time it emerged that discs containing sensitive information on 25 million child benefit claimants went missing in Britain last year, the European commission proposed (pdf) a mandatory notification scheme in cases where a security breach leads to a loss of personal data. The broad thrust of that proposal – known as the electronic privacy directive – appeared sensible. But now MEPs want to transform the package so that rather than helping to enhance privacy, it will erode it.

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