Peter Hustinx, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), spoke out today against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), claiming that it could prove unworkable under current European Union data protection laws.
The ACTA is currently being hammered out in South Korea by the EU, US, Japan, Australia and several other countries in an effort to combat copyright infringement and the trade in counterfeit goods.
However, Hustinx warned that moves to curb internet piracy could threaten the fundamental rights of EU citizens by infringing on data protection laws.
"Intellectual property must be protected, but it should not be placed above individuals' rights to privacy and data protection. A right balance between the protection of intellectual property and privacy and data protection should be ensured," he said in an official statement today.
"The EDPS calls on the EU to implement appropriate safeguards to all data transfers made in the context of ACTA. Such safeguards should take the form of binding agreements between EU senders and third country recipients."
Hustinx also strongly criticised internet disconnection policies currently being discussed, dismissing the deterrent as redundant and hard to implement.
"Three-strikes disconnection policies are not necessary to enforce intellectual property rights, and are problematic on a legal level as the processing of judicial data must be based on an appropriate legal basis," he said.
Finally, Hustinx argued that the ACTA negotiators had ignored the right of the EDPS to be consulted on such matters, and asked that this situation be addressed for the remainder of the talks.
"The EDPS wishes to be consulted on the measures to be implemented in respect of the data transfers that will take place under ACTA in order to verify their proportionality, and that they guarantee an adequate level of data protection," he said.
The European ISP Association warned in November that the ACTA could "threaten the openness of the internet", and argued against any form of graduated response, such as a three-strikes policy.
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