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Dr. Alexander Dix, LL.M. Commissioner for Data Protection

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Präsentation zum Thema: "Dr. Alexander Dix, LL.M. Commissioner for Data Protection"—  Präsentation transkript:

1 Data Protection and Freedom of Information – two prerequisites for democratic states
Dr. Alexander Dix, LL.M. Commissioner for Data Protection and Access to Information Brandenburg Statement 4th International Conference on Information Society and 9th International IST Trade Fair INFOBALT October 21-26, 2002 Vilnius, Lithuania Landesbeauftragter für den Datenschutz und für das Recht auf Akteneinsicht Brandenburg

2 Main Points Privacy protection and FOI: Two sides of the same coin
Issues of balance Accession to the EU Situation in Germany Regulatory models and future developments Links Landesbeauftragter für den Datenschutz und für das Recht auf Akteneinsicht Brandenburg

3 Privacy and FOI in Europe
Data protection (Art. 8 and 41 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights) and Freedom of information (Art. 42 of the Charter) are both fundamental rights in Europe and part of the acquis communautaire Landesbeauftragter für den Datenschutz und für das Recht auf Akteneinsicht Brandenburg

4 The right to good administration
Every person has the right to have his or her affairs handled impartially, fairly and within a reasonable time by the institutions and bodies of the Union. This right includes: ...- the right of every person to have access to his or her file, while respecting the legitimate interests of confidentiality and of professional and business secrecy;... (Art. 41 of the Charter) Landesbeauftragter für den Datenschutz und für das Recht auf Akteneinsicht Brandenburg

5 Two sides of the same coin (I)
„The shared purpose of data protection and freedom of information is to continue maintaining the non-transparency of citizens in a world that has undergone the information revolution while rendering the state transparent.“ László Majtényi, First Hungarian Parliamentary Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information Landesbeauftragter für den Datenschutz und für das Recht auf Akteneinsicht Brandenburg

6 Two sides of the same coin (II)
Data Protection and Freedom of Information both aim at checking and limiting the power of public authorities which process citizens‘ data and at increasing individual freedom. Landesbeauftragter für den Datenschutz und für das Recht auf Akteneinsicht Brandenburg

7 Differences (I) Data Protection also applies to private data controllers FOI almost exclusively applies to the public sector (exception: South Africa) But: Recent moves to increase transparency in the private sector (U.S./EU) Landesbeauftragter für den Datenschutz und für das Recht auf Akteneinsicht Brandenburg

8 Differences (II) FOI governs all types of data whereas
Data Protection only relates to the handling of personal data Therefore: Many data (e.g. budget or planning information) may be disclosed without touching upon privacy issues Landesbeauftragter für den Datenschutz und für das Recht auf Akteneinsicht Brandenburg

9 Balancing Data Protection and FOI
If access to or publication of personal data in public files is at issue a careful balance has to be struck in each individual case. Neither privacy nor freedom of information (transparency) take precedence in principle Example of Art. 14 para.3 Lithuanian Law on Provision of Information to the Public Two fundamental rights to be balanced The protection of privacy may limit access to information unless thereis an overriding public interest in disclosure (Council of Europe Recommendation of February 2002 on access to official documents Rec (2002)2 para IV.2) Art.14(3) Information concerning private life may be published without the person‘s consent in those cases, when publishing of the information shall not pose harm to the person or when the information shall assist in uncovering law violations or crimes also, when the information shall be presented in the examination of a case in an open court process. In addition, information concerning a public figure‘s (of state poltival figures, public servants, heads of political parties and public organisations and other persons participating in public or poltical activities) private life may be made public without his consent, if this information shall disclose the circumstances of this person‘s private life or personal traits which are of public significance. Landesbeauftragter für den Datenschutz und für das Recht auf Akteneinsicht Brandenburg

10 Towards accession to the EU
Lithuania has made significant progress in terms of legal alignment and administrative capacity (Regular Progress Reports 2001/2002) Commission has called for further strengthening of the State Data Protection Inspectorate Landesbeauftragter für den Datenschutz und für das Recht auf Akteneinsicht Brandenburg

11 Enlargement no one-way process
Acquis communautaire is the entirety of legal rules and organisational conditions to be adopted by candidate countries before accession to the EU But countries of Central and Eastern Europe are also influencing Western European countries Landesbeauftragter für den Datenschutz und für das Recht auf Akteneinsicht Brandenburg

12 The example of Brandenburg (I)
Brandenburg (Germany) adopted a general constitutional right to access public documents in 1992 1998 Act on Access to Files The Hungarian experience since 1992 contributed to the creation of an agency (Commissioner) for access to information issues (2 years after the Lithuanian Law on the Provision of Information to the Public was adopted) Dr. Majtényi (First Parliamentary Commissioner) gave evidence before the Brandenburg Parliament and managed to convince Members of Parliament to adopt this model Landesbeauftragter für den Datenschutz und für das Recht auf Akteneinsicht Brandenburg

13 The example of Brandenburg (II)
Two separate acts on Data Protection and Access to Public Files One Commissioner with a combined task of monitoring the respect for the basic rights of data protection and access to information (Hungarian model) Landesbeauftragter für den Datenschutz und für das Recht auf Akteneinsicht Brandenburg

14 Situation in Germany (I)
Data Protection Laws in force on the federal level and in all 16 states since the 1970s but Access to Information Laws in force only in 4 states, not on the federal level Brandenburg taking the lead in 1998 Landesbeauftragter für den Datenschutz und für das Recht auf Akteneinsicht Brandenburg

15 Situation in Germany (II)
Federal Government promised to introduce legislation for general access to information but failed to do so. After the General Election they have renewed this promise. Germany is one of the last European Countries without an FOI law. Landesbeauftragter für den Datenschutz und für das Recht auf Akteneinsicht Brandenburg

16 Privacy and FOI laws worldwide
In 39 states Privacy laws in force, in 8 states legislation pending In 44 states FOI laws in force, in 12 states legislation pending March 2002 <http://www.privacyinternational.org> Landesbeauftragter für den Datenschutz und für das Recht auf Akteneinsicht Brandenburg

17 The democratic information society
Most democratic states today take the view that the „information society“ or „information revolution“ will only be accepted by the citizens if they have a right to informational self-determination (data protection) and a right to access documents held by the state Landesbeauftragter für den Datenschutz und für das Recht auf Akteneinsicht Brandenburg

18 Three models of regulation
Separate legislation for Data Protection and FOI, separate enforcement (e.g. Sweden, France, U.S., E.U.) Separate legislation but combined enforcement (e.g. United Kingdom, 4 German states) Combined legislation and combined enforcement by an agency with dual responsibility (Hungary, Québéc (Canada), Solothurn (Switzerland)) Simplification ! In the U.S. enforcement through the judicial process and the FTC Landesbeauftragter für den Datenschutz und für das Recht auf Akteneinsicht Brandenburg

19 Future Developments The combined approach is likely to become a general trend in the future (cf. developments in Switzerland and Germany). Candidate countries are invited to examine this legislative option EU law does not prescribe a specific model Landesbeauftragter für den Datenschutz und für das Recht auf Akteneinsicht Brandenburg

20 Links http://europa.eu.int/comm/enlargement/report2002/
Landesbeauftragter für den Datenschutz und für das Recht auf Akteneinsicht Brandenburg


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