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Exclusive: Tech firms and rights groups set for first advisory meeting on EC data protection proposals

28 Nov 2012
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The European Commission's revised Data Protection Regulation will be subject to its first discussions by a Ministry of Justice advisory panel on Thursday, V3 has learnt.

The meeting will be chaired by Justice Minister for Courts and Victims Helen Grant, and will be attended by a number of industry stakeholders and three advocacy groups: the Open Rights Group (ORG), Privacy International and Which. V3 had learnt that justice minister, Lord McNally, will also be attending.

The Ministry of Justice has refused to comment on the nature of the meeting but has confirmed it will be taking place.

V3 has seen a copy of the invitation, which invites members of the Data Protection Panel to their first meeting.

"The meeting will provide you with an update on the EC negotiations and key topics. In order to facilitate discussion it would also be helpful to know whether you have any particular concerns or questions about the new Data Protection proposals," says the invite.

"Whilst it may not be possible to consider each area of concern on an individual basis, we hope that the meeting can address any issues of a cross cutting nature."

ORG chief executive Jim Killock said the meeting comprised those advising the government on the revised data protection rules, and that he would be attending the meeting to make a case for people to have more control over their data.

People should have the right to have their data back after they terminate an agreement with an online company, like Facebook, and should be able to destroy their data if they want to, said Killock.

"There has been a lot of lobbying the UK government from the likes of Facebook, Google and Yahoo to try and get the Data Protection Directive watered down," Killock told V3.

"So far the Ministry of Justice has been kind of agreeing with them, taking the Facebook and Google line, like implied consent is OK, and that people don't want to retrieve their data."

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