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EU unable to find data protection tsar to fill key role

09 Jan 2014
European Data Protection supervisor Peter Hustinx

The European Commission (EC) appears unable to find anyone qualified enough to take on the role of European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) as the current data tsar is set to step down.

Peter Hustinx (pictured) has held the role for five years, which means – as agreed by the European Parliament when setting up the position – he must step down. The role will end on 16 January and a replacement for Hustinx has not yet been found.

Hustinx – whose role is to oversee personal data and privacy issues within the EU, and particularly the rights of citizens – has now written to several of the top European chiefs expressing his concern at this state of affairs.

“At this stage, it is highly unlikely that the appointment of a new supervisor and assistant supervisor will take place either before or shortly after this date. This opens the perspective of a period of uncertainty as to when the new team of supervisors will be appointed," he said.

“This uncertainty and the possibly long delays that may be involved, as well as their different consequences, are likely to harm the effectiveness and the authority of the EDPS over the coming months.”

He also noted that the issue is of particular concern given the ongoing debates around new European data protection policies and urged the situation to be resolved as quickly as possible.

V3 contacted the EC for comment on the issues raised by Hustinx, but had received no reply at the time of publication.

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Dan Worth

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

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