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Environm Ciencia, Tecnologia y Economia

European Union GT 29

Posted by benjamin-nicolau en abril 16, 2008

European Union, Art. 29 Working Party clarifies the applicable rules for search engines

ARTICLE 29 Data Protection Working Party

Brussels, 09 April 2008


The Article 29 Working Party held its 65th plenary session in Brussels on April 3rd and
4th, 2008.

Art. 29 Working Party clarifies the applicable rules for search engines :

After having carried out a consultation of the main search engines the WP finally adopted the
long-awaited opinion relative to the protection of personal data applicable to search engines
on April 4th, 2008.

It endeavours to clarify the conditions of applicability of the European legal framework and it
sets out the following recommendations :

– First of all, the WP stresses that the European rules of data protection apply to search
engines, even if the headquarter is established in a country outside the European

The WP considers that personal data registered by search engines must be erased as soon as
possible, and after a 6-month period at the latest. In any event, Directive 2006/24/EC
relating to the storage of traffic data does not apply to search engines; they do not have thus
any legal obligation to store information concerning users traffic data, unlike Internet access
providers for example.

– The WP recommends that Internet users be also clearly informed of their rights, in
accordance with Directive 95/46/EC relating to the protection of personal data :
information on the purposes of the data process, the terms of exercise of their right of
access, modification and erasure.

Lastly, Internet users must give their consent to the use of their data for consumer profiling
purposes in particular.

Art. 29 Working Party adopts the Technology Subgroup Work Programme

The members of the former ITF subgroup decided to rename ITF to Technology Subgroup
(TS) in order to be able to deal with a larger variety of technological issues.

The members prepared a list of topics to be possibly dealt with in 2008/2009. Among the
most relevant topics, the TS subgroup will have to address the issue of personal data on
general or specific social networks. TS will have a thorough reflexion on these websites and
will issue an opinion in the course of 2008 or early 2009. Other topics will have to be
discussed such as Electronic Toll System, RFID, Biometrics, etc.

BCR : Improving the approval process

To improve the communication on Binding Corporate Rules and allow companies concerned
by international data transfers who wish to get information on this solution, the article 29
Working Party will soon gather all information available on BCR on a specific webpage of its
website. This webpage will contain all documents related to BCR and adopted by the article
29 Working Party (WP 74, 107, 108).
The Art. 29 WP will arrange an internal workshop in Paris in June to share experiences
between European Data Protection Authorities.

US Visa Waiver Programme (VWP)

The Art. 29 WP voiced serious concerns relating to the new requirements of the US in the
framework of US Visa Waiver Programme, that consists in asking some EU Member States to
provide informations relative to their citizens so as them to benefit from a visa exemption.
Prior to the work on data protection issues of the VWP, the art. 29 WP plans to ask for more
background information on the scope of the programme, in an approach at a European level.
(See communiqué of the Council of the European Union at :

Background information

The Article 29 Working Party on the Protection of Individuals with regard to the Processing
of Personal Data is an independent advisory body on data protection and privacy, set up under
Article 29 of the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC. It is composed of representatives from
the national data protection authorities of the EU Member States, the European Data
Protection Supervisor and the European Commission. Its tasks are described in Article 30 of
Directive 95/46/EC and Article 15 of Directive 2002/58/EC. The WP is competent to examine
questions covering the application of the national measures adopted under the data protection
directives in order to contribute to the uniform application of the directives. It carries out this
task by issuing recommendations, opinions and working documents1.


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