The Privacy BlogPrivacy, Security, Cryptography, and Anonymity

TAG | EU

Tulips and windmill

DutchNews.nl reports that ISPs in the Netherlands will no longer be required to retain data for law enforcement.

Since 2009, national laws have required keeping records on the activities of all users for a period of one year. In 2014 the EU determined that such mass storage was a violation of fundamental privacy rights.

This court ruling brings the EU and Dutch rules into accord by ending the data retention requirement.

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EU Flags photo

A New York district judge has ruled that Microsoft must comply with US search warrants for emails stored in European data centers. The argument is that as a US company, Microsoft is subject to the order, and because it has control of its European subsidiary which in turn has control of the data center in Europe, it should therefor comply.

This will put Microsoft, and many other US Internet companies, in a tricky place. The EU data protection laws are being expanded to explicitly bar EU subsidiaries of US companies from sending data outside the EU for law enforcement or intelligence purposes.

This also further undermines confidence in the security and privacy of data held by US Internet companies.

Microsoft ordered to hand over overseas email, throwing EU privacy rights in the fire | ZDNet

Lance Cottrell is the Founder and Chief Scientist of Anonymizer. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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Digital Eraser

The recent ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has re-ignited debate about the “right to be forgotten”, or perhaps more accurately the right to have certain information purged from the Internet. While this right provides some real privacy benefits, it runs up against free speech and jurisdictional problems.

Here are seven conundrums around the right to be forgotten and the recent ECJ ruling:

  1. The ECJ ruling provides for removing search results, but not for removing the underlying web page. In the case in question, a newspaper article is allowed to stay on-line, but a search on the plaintiff’s name must not return a link to that page.
  2. While the search result would be removed when the search is the person’s name, other searches for the information would show that link.
  3. The ECJ does not give you a right to remove anything harmful or embarrassing to you, only information “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, excessive in relation to the purposes of the processing”
  4. You don’t have a right to have certain information forgotten if that is newsworthy and noteworthy. In other words, if this was likely to be searched for by a lot of people, then you can’t remove it.
  5. The ECJ ruling only applies to EU residents . If you are outside the EU, or using a search engine outside the EU then you don’t have this right.
  6. The ECJ ruling only applies to search engines operating in the EU. If the search engine is exclusively operating outside the EU, or is being accessed from outside the EU, then the search results would still be visible. This means that you would get the search results if you were using Anonymizer Universal from within the EU.
  7. The tools and laws used to enforce the right to be forgotten are very similar to the techniques used for censorship by repressive regimes. Once in place, the urge to use the power more broadly has been irresistible to governments that obtain it.


Lance Cottrell is the Founder and Chief Scientist of Anonymizer. Follow me onFacebookTwitter, and Google+.

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