Privacy Law and Policy Reporter
Compiled by Graham Greenleaf and Nigel Waters
There is much interest in so-called ‘privacy enhancing technology’ initiatives including the Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P) (see p35 of this issue); the Information and Content Exchange (ICE); and the Open Profiling Standard (OPS). Privacy advocates in the US have been very critical of these initiatives as going only a small way towards meeting the full range of desirable privacy standards — see http://www.epic.org/privacy/.
In an Opinion issued on 16 June 1998, the EU Article 29 Working Party has given a cautious welcome to the P3P and OPS initiatives, but pointed out that in order to make a useful contribution to privacy protection, they will need to be implemented in ways which ensure that Internet users are informed about remedies for breaches of privacy rules, and that users do not have to change browser default settings in order to get the benefit of the tools. The Working Party also reminds organisations offering services on the Internet that these tools do not offer a complete solution and that in the EU at least, they must comply with the higher standard of data protection law. There is a risk of confusion and non-compliance if EU web sites try to rely on P3P and OPS.
Nigel Waters, Associate Editor.