The European data protection supervisor, Peter Hustinx, has criticised the European Commission (EC) for failing to implement tough rules in its draft legislation on changes to European data protection laws relating to the use of personal data by law enforcement agencies.
Hustinx said the EC has not done enough to ensure data protection laws in this sector are adequately robust, arguing too much leeway is given to how these agencies can store and process personal data.
"The proposed rules for data protection in the law enforcement area are unacceptably weak. In many instances there is no justification whatsoever for departing from the rules provided in the proposed regulation," he said.
"The law enforcement area requires some specific rules, but not a general lowering of the level of data protection."
Commenting on the legislation the day after the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) closed its consultation period for UK businesses and other interested parties to put their views on the proposals forward, Hustinx said such issues meant he was not satisfied with the legislation in its current form.
"The proposed regulation constitutes a huge step forward for the right to data protection in Europe," he said.
"However, we are unfortunately still far from a comprehensive set of data protection rules on national and EU level in all areas of EU policy."
Hustinx did welcome some elements of the legislation, though, including the fact the new law will make the data protection a single piece of legislation for each member state, removing complexities and inconsistencies for firms operating across Europe.
The legislation concerns a number of new measures that if brought into law could place a number of onerous burdens on businesses, and leave them open to fine as high as two per cent of annual turnover.
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