Washington Statement: activists around the world ask the EU for model privacy rules

Activists from around the world have signed onto the Washington Statement, in which they call upon the EU to pass strong, meaningful privacy legislation, pushing back against aggressive corporate lobbying. In the wake of NSA leaks about Prism and other mass-surveillance programs, they see a good EU privacy directive as a lighthouse for good privacy policy around the world. You can sign on too, just by leaving a comment on the site:

We therefore call on EU policy makers:

• to oppose corporate lobbying and to prevent the erosion of privacy protections in the European Union,
• to set a high standard and ensure that EU data protection law sets a global standard for privacy;
• to ensure specific rights of individuals are being preserved, such as explicit consent to personal data processing, the right to access, rectification and certain rights to erasure that are in the existing European legal framework,
• to ensure basic principles that would help protect citizens against untargeted and disproportionate surveillance measures, such as data minimization, purpose limitation, limited storage periods and notification procedures,
• to ensure that personal data processed in the EU is not transferred to third country authorities without a determination that there are adequate privacy safeguards.

The Washington Statement" In Support of Data Protection


  1. I’ll say it again: ‘Mercans need a Privacy Commissioner. 
    Jennifer Stoddard, one of my heroes, is our current Privacy Commissioner.  Even, what’s-his-name, Zuckersomething, has had to blink under her unyielding glare.

  2. In Germany the data retention directive was kicked to the curb by the Bundesverfassungsgericht (Federal Constitutional Court). 

    The Federal Minister of Justice Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger (FDP) is in constant clash with Federal Minister of the Interior Friedrich (CDU) to prevent some sort of watered down data retention inside the permissible guidelines set by the Bundesverfassungsgericht.

  3. Part of that is a cultural difference.

    Americans tend to view privacy in the context of state intrusions but have no concept of privacy to speak of when it comes to private entities.

    Many European give the state a bit more leeway than Americans, but they are much more concerned about private-sector violations.

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