back to article EU damns scanners, Facebook, MySpace and Phorm

Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Information Society and Media, has promised tough new laws to curb privacy-breaching technology like body scanners and has also warned the social networking industry that it needs to do more to protect children using its services. In a speech to mark Data Protection Day Reding said she …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who's interest does the holding of personal information serve?

    The Individual, the commercial enterprise or the state?

    What information is essential and what is optional? If I want (and I don't!) to hand over information to facebook, for example, then I do so knowing that it can and will be used for and against me. My risk.

    If I hand it over to a Commercial entity then it should be a default obligation, not an optional commercial requirement, that they use it only for the purpose given - not for selling on at a price to those who want and can afford to pay.

    If I hand it over to a properly constituted public body in fulfillment of a non-optional legal obligation (Like paying taxes or driving a car) then unless a challengable legal instrument instructs the provision of the information to other then it remains confidential.

    This should be true of paper or electronic data IMHO.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      General agreement, but ...

      "If I want ... to hand over information to facebook, for example, then I do so knowing that it can and will be used for and against me. My risk." It is only your risk if you can easily read *and understand* the limitations on your privacy, along with the implications. Also, any changes that are planned that affect your privacy MUST be announced in advance, along with what implications these changes will have. Ideally, there should then be a specific "I agree to continue my account" similar to a change of contract. Any accounts which are cancelled must then have ALL data associated with it fully deleted (subject to whichever data-retention laws apply at the time, but that is a different issue).

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Yes, but..

      .. it gets a heck of a lot more complex when an enterprise finds ways to bypass Data Protection. One of the holes is that you're perfectly allowed to collect data via 3rd parties, and a data user (someone who buys that data) is under no formal obligation to tell you where they got your details from, so the source can continue to sell this information with gay abandon. It is irritating enough to have to play a game of whack-a-mole, it gets worse when the data is wrong or out of date (few seem to consider data quality a problem).

      By way of example, sites like Facebook and Google Picasa bypass EU Data Protection laws by collecting details over YOU from OTHERS.

      Every time you tag a picture in Google Picasa with someone else's name you have given Google a picture of that person without their permission - and the pattern to identify that person in any other image they hold. And, as a consequence of Google being a US company, you have given more data about that person to the US government - a government that has proven time and time again that New Labour still has a few things to learn when it comes to violating the private sphere. Who knows, next time they'll use your picture for the "current Osama look" images - better not piss someone off there.

      If you really want to promote privacy you shouldn't just reduce the data available about you, but also reduce the data you provide about others, and guard against anyone broadcasting data about you in an uncontrolled way. I'll give you another example of the latter: LinkedIn. Every single iota you do is broadcast to all your contacts if they have signed up for update emails - everything. There too, you have zero control but to remove your profile - you cannot stop the broadcasts to friends other than by bailing out (which I will, just haven't got round to it yet).

      Anon, because El Reg can see who I am, and that's enough for me..

  2. Volker Hett
    Thumb Up

    More power to her!

    I wish we had more politicians like her.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Betcha 5p nothing changes though... It amazes me how we signed up for the European Human Rights deal - and then ignore it whenever we want...

    Sodding government... Can we start a revolution yet? I'm free on Saturday...

    I suppose I should post anon. if I'm being a dissident.. If I suddenly commit "suicide", expect the post mortem to be locked away for 70 bloody years like Dr. Kelly...

  4. MinionZero
    Big Brother

    Wow, almost everything she said made sense?!

    It really makes a change to hear some sense rather than suffering the relentless slide into a Police State we are getting from our current morally vacant NuLabour tyrannical lords of chaos.

    Although sadly past experience of the relentless control freaks is warning me to watch out for them seeking to throw her out of her job for talking sense in opposition to them. At the very least I expect the control freaks to oppose and continue to ignore the EU, as they push ever forward with their need for ever more power over us all. :(

  5. SynnerCal
    Thumb Up

    Good thing I was sitting down...

    ... but am I the only one that thinks that Ms Reading is a heck of a lot closer to the feelings/wishes of Joe/Jane Public in the UK than our so-called elected "representatives" - especially those in the ICO and Dept of BIS.

    I read through the article and found myself surprised to be in agreement with pretty much everything that was being said. So it's a shame that none of it will be implemented.

    If we have to get rules from the EU, why can't we have sensible stuff like this, rather than those on banana curvature etc. I live in hope...

  6. mister_L

    She does a good job!

    At least one person in the EU. The swift-agreement and the regarding decision-making-process was one of the biggest failures in EU history.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Why can't the nice, rational, sensible, proportionate sounding stories on privacy/surveillance/data-pimping have a British Parliamentarian or official behind them? Just for once. Please.

  8. Scott 19

    Wally's world

    Just when you thought the world couldn't get any wackier the EU grows some common sense (yes you can grow it, i'd ask the Dutch), whatever next a goverment that looks after its citizens and not how much money it can make and spend, not in my life time i bet (Simpson's said it best "Tax and spend, Tax and spend").

  9. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

    I'm confused

    I find myself agreeing with, and supporting a politician.

    I think I need a lie down in a darkened room for a while...

  10. Apocalypse Later

    Sounds like the right person for the job

    She is SO fired!

  11. lglethal Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    All in favour...

    All in favour of Ms Reding becoming the next prime minister of the UK, say Aye...

  12. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge


    I Love Viviane Reding. My wife understands perfectly.

    If she decided to start a political party in the UK then I would vote for her and her party if it was built upon the principles which she so frequently displays.

  13. 1of10

    Its funny to think...

    What would be of UK without EU sanity check!

  14. Mos Eisley Spaceport
    Thumb Up

    A truly smart person...

    It's a rare thing these days.

  15. FoolD
    Thumb Up

    Blimey .. will it last though ?

    It is great that the EU seems to be learning common sense, and at the same time sad that we need the EU to protect us from our own UK polititians and companies.

    All we need now is the ability to directly elect those with such power at the EU - if only so we can show our support and vote for the ones that show common sense like this.

    In the meantime, polititians of the UK - wake up and smell the coffee!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Go get 'em girl!

  17. TeeCee Gold badge

    Must be Friday.

    How can someone with "Information Society and Media" in their job title say so many things that are so mind-numbingly sensible? Must be a terrible mistake and I'm sure there'll be a clarification later.

    '...ensure that: "our EU legislation and international agreements are based on evidence rather than on emotional responses to the latest scare."....'. Yeah, right. Good luck with that.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    the only problem is, as is with politics, that those who she opposes will unfortunately find a way sooner or later to get rid of her :|

    Lets hope that won't happen, she seems to be on the right way

  19. Melanie Winiger
    Thumb Up


    Am I the only one who can't believe they are praising a politician from Luxembourg?

  20. SleepyJohnR
    Big Brother

    Cuddly words but can you sack her?

    This speech may be full of warm and cuddly stuff but that should not blind us to the fact that it was delivered by an unelected, unaccountable and very powerful member of an unelected, unaccountable and very powerful governing body that controls all Britons' laws despite never having been given a mandate by the people to do so. By any definition the EU is a de facto dictatorship, and if this Commissar's words or actions become less cuddly next year you will not be able to sack her, or her shadowy bosses.

    If the people cannot directly hire and fire those who make their laws then they do not live in a democracy. The EU is not a democracy. Was it Churchill who said that the only forms of government worse than democracy are all the others? However cosy and fluffy their carefully-crafted pronouncements may sound.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      If the people cannot directly hire and fire...

      Hands up all you who ELECTED Gordon Brown to the position of PM.


      Hands up all you who believe a change of party leadership should automatically trigger an immediate general election.


      What were you saying about democracy? Wanna try that again?

  21. Pablo


    This respecting privacy idea, do you suppose it will catch on?

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020