AFP: Experts agree on proposed global privacy standards
Experts agree on proposed global privacy standards
MADRID — Experts from 50 nations meeting in Madrid have reached a draft agreement on international standards for the protection of privacy and personal data, participants said Friday.
Under the proposed standards, data may only be processed after obtaining the "free, unambiguous and informed consent" of the data subjects and it should be deleted when it is no longer necessary for the purposes for which it was gathered.
Data collectors must identify themselves, state in clear language the purpose of the data processing and the recipients of the gathered data.
International transfers of personal data may only be carried out to a country which "affords, as a minimum, the level of protection provided for in the document," according to the proposed standards, agreed by representatives from privacy protection agencies.
"This agreement was reached with the active participation and support of civil society and industry," the head of the Spanish Data Protection Agency, Artemi Rallo Lombarte, said at the end of the three-day gathering.
Participants hope the draft international standards will serve as the basis for a universal, binding legal instrument on data protection. But several cautioned that this is still a long way off given the different rules around the world.
"We have jumped over a first step but we have a long road, a very long road, ahead to arrive at a common, restricting legal framework," said the president of France's CNIL data protection agency, Alex Turk.
Over 1,000 participants from around the world took part in the 31st International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy which is billed as the world's largest forum dedicated to privacy.
US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and representatives from key Internet firms like Google and Facebook were among those who took part in the event, which was organized by the Spanish Data Protection Agency.
The next such conference is scheduled for October 2010 in Jerusalem. Previous gatherings have taken place in Strasbourg, Hong Kong, Sydney and Montreal.
Thanks to Alex Cameron for the pointer.