Friday, September 22, 2006

Home Office criticised by select committee report

Jerry Fishenden of Microsoft points to an interesting parliamentary report by the Select Committee on European Union, which catigates the Home Office for pressing forward with measures with other G6 ministers of interior, to undermine data protection principles. They also complain that there has been a serious lack of transparency about the whole enterprise and accuse the Home Office of effectively misleading parliament on the issue.

"We do not understand why the former Home Secretary should have apparently agreed with other G6 ministers to press forward with the "availability" principle and disregard data protection issues. This is contrary to the decision of the Member States in the Hague Programme, contrary to the advice of independent data protection authorities, inconsistent with what the Home Office Ministers had told us, and against the views of the Finnish Presidency. The exchange of information between the law enforcement authorities is important, but not so important that civil rights can be eroded."

This Select committee always gets plenty of media attention when criticising the EU but not much, it seems, when drawing attention to the erosion of abstract principles like data protection.

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