Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Soundbites from today’s Computers, Privacy & Data Protection conference

Today’s conference session in Brussels produced some genuine revelations.

A very reliable source gave me some of the names of the unsuccessful candidates for the post of the next European Data Protection Supervisor. No, I’m not leaking my list. Another totally reliable source told me that, when seeking official explanations as to why none of the shortlisted candidate were considered suitable for the post, it was explained that none of them had advanced a sufficient vision of the future role of the office of the EDPS. Having also managed to secure a few private words with (at least) one of the unsuccessful shortlisted candidates today, I appreciate that this is not the real reason that no appointment has been made. But let’s get back to business. European citizens do need more transparency around the EDPS appointment procedures, if a new one is to be appointed before this calamity descends into even more of a farce.  When even Commission officials can barely suppress their sniggers each time this mess is mentioned, you appreciate how little credibility the current appointment process has. 

Soundbites on the Regulation:

“The Regulation will not be passed before the European Parliamentary elections.”
 “There has been a failure on the part of the European Commission to explain what the Regulation is about. We are losing allies for the Regulation within the Council. This is due to a failure of the Commission to support its own projects. The Commission should create more support in the Council, not on Twitter.”
“The worst outcome of the current deliberations on the Regulation is that deadlock within the Council continues until the end of the summer and we may not have a new framework before 2020. This scenario is more and more possible.”
Wojciech Wiewiorowski, Polish Data Protection Inspector General

“We are not there yet.”
Peter Shaar, European Academy for Freedom of Information & Data Protection

“We want closure. Let’s get this law on the books.”
“What we have on the table is progress but it is not perfection and we will never achieve perfection. We should now seek corridors of acceptance.”
 “It’s time for the politicians to take charge.”
Paul Nemitz, European Commission

“We want a proposal that is simple, effective, and easy to understand for the man on the street.”
Anna Fielder, Privacy International.

“For once, I agree with Christopher Kuner.”
Marie-Helene Boulanger, DG Justice

Heard at other sessions:

“I have seven quick points I want to make.”
“You can’t have a homogenised approach to resilience. It’s a multifaceted response.”
Various (academic) speakers

And finally, after the cabaret session during the cocktail party to mark the close of the first day - which featured an acrobat on a trapeze, playing the saxophone upside down (don't ask me what that has to do with data protection, but it happened, believe me):

“Wow, I need another drink. Now, who’s paying for my dinner?”
Bemused delegate

Roll on tomorrow.