The European Court of Justice has recently decided an important case involving privacy and search engines. The decision may have enormously broad implications for privacy, for search engines, and for the Internet as a whole. This brief analysis provides context and highlights of the court’s decision, with a discussion of the implications, which are far-ranging.
May 20 Update: see our full analysis of the ruling here. In a ruling with far-reaching implications for online privacy, the European Court of Justice has ruled that online search companies are subject to the European Data Protection Directive, (Directive 95/46/EC) . Search engine companies that are based in the EU, or multi-national search engine
This section reviews several other privacy self-regulatory activities that share some characteristics with the industry self-regulatory programs discussed above, but these activities differ in various ways. The most noticeable differences are the role of the government in the programs. The Department of Commerce is involved in the Safe Harbor Framework, and the Federal Trade Commission is involved in the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.
TACD — The Trans Atlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD), which WPF is a member of, has sent a letter regarding Internet privacy to a Congressional subcommittee explaining that European privacy controls are not burdensome, but rather of key importance. The TACD is a forum of more than 80 US and European consumer groups and represents several hundred million consumers in North America and the United States.
Comments on EASA –The World Privacy Forum submitted comments today on the European Advertising Standards Alliance’s Best Practice Recommendation on Online Behavioural Advertising. Our comments focus upon three key areas: First, the EASA recommendation fails to recognize the protection of consumer privacy in Online Behavioral Advertising (OBA) as a key policy goal. Second, the recommendation’s protections are narrow, creating illusory protections for user privacy, whether or not they opt out of OBA. Finally, we critique the oversight and compliance mechanisms, which are not likely to foster consumer confidence nor police the industry. Drawing upon the WPF’s 2007 report, The NAI: Failing at Consumer Protection and at Self-Regulation, the comments argue that EASA’s approach suffers from the same weaknesses as self-regulatory approaches deployed in the United States, and that European lawmakers should not replicate the failed American approach. Law students from the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic helped draft the comments as part of an ongoing project on consumer privacy and OBA.