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Helping businesses comply with the EU Data Protection Directive - CEN

22 May 2003, 12:18 CET

CEN, the European Committee for Standardization, announced today that CEN/ISSS, CEN's Information Society Standardization System, will host a "kick-off" meeting to launch a new CEN Workshop in the area of Data Protection and Privacy. The kick-off meeting, open to all interested parties, will be held on Thursday 3 July 2003 in Brussels.

The Workshop aims to use the standardization process to help business in Europe to comply with the Data Protection Directive and relevant national legislation. This is to be done by facilitating harmonisation of practice, developing the understanding and predictability of detailed or sectoral practices, contributing to resolving IT technical compliance issues, and encouraging consistency of assessment and oversight.

The CEN Workshop is an open platform - involving all relevant stakeholders, including business, regulators and the public interest - that allows standardization work to be carried out in a less formal and more rapid environment. The aim is to develop a European consensus on an issue, and to publish this as a CEN Workshop Agreement (CWA). The CEN Workshop on European Electronic Commerce for Product Nomenclature (WS E-NOM) recently delivered a standard classification system for non-food product nomenclature for publication as a CWA within nine months of its launch.

The new Workshop on Data Protection and Privacy will implement various recommendations of the report of the Initiative for Privacy Standardization in Europe (IPSE). The IPSE aimed to analyse the current status of privacy protection efforts and determine whether standardization actions in the broadest sense could benefit the processes and implementation of the European Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC. The report - prepared by an IPSE Project Team and approved by the IPSE Steering Group - looked at the background and a broad representative sample of the current work in progress on data protection.

The EU Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC is not a "new approach" Directive, and so any standards developed would not offer the presumption of conformity which is available under the "new approach". The IPSE report, however, made a series of recommendations for actions that in the view of the reporters would help business to implement the European data protection Directive and relevant national legislation. It is available on the CEN/ISSS website (PDF)

Participation in the kick-off meeting is open to all interested stakeholders but subject to informing by 20 June at the latest. Alternatively, participants can register using the on-line registration form on the new Workshop web page below.

The mission of the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) is to promote voluntary technical harmonization in Europe in conjunction with worldwide bodies and its partners in Europe. Harmonization diminishes trade barriers, promotes safety, allows interoperability of products, systems and services, and promotes common technical understanding.

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