-DATA PROTECTION AND PRIVACY-
Hungarian International Data Protection Conference
On June 16 and 17, 2011, the Hungarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union hosted a high-level international data protection conference in Budapest. The following are some highlights from the second day’s events:
During the “New principles in the field” panel the principle of
accountability was discussed
The second and final panel discussed “Global compatible standards
of privacy / data protection,”
The conference ended with a speech by former Hungarian Data
Protection Commissioner Attila Péterfalvi whom provided some
details regarding upcoming legislation to amend the Hungarian data
Accordingly, the new legislation was designed to bring Hungary into compliance with the Directive, in particular by converting the Data Protection Ombudsman into an independent data protection authority with its own budget. The legislation would make the new DPA responsible for freedom of information as well as data protection. Approval of the amendments will require a two-thirds majority in the Hungarian parliament; it is hoped that the amendments may be approved some time this summer.
Hungary Adopts New Data Protection Law
On July 24th The Hungarian Parliament adopted the Act on Informational Self-Determination and Freedom of Information (the new Data Protection Act), the domestic implementation of the European Data Protection Directive (95/46/EC). The new Act will enter into force by 1 January 2012 and same will replace the Act LXIII of 1992 on the Protection of Personal Data and Public Access to Data of Public Interest.
The new Data Protection Act mainly preserved the material provisions of the outdated former Law. Similarly to the Data Protection Act currently in force, the new legislation covers both the general material provisions of data protection as well as freedom of information. Since the new Data Protection Act is general law, the legislator may therefore derogate from its provisions through sectoral legislation.
Commission Raises Concerns about Hungary’s Constitution
The European Commission (EC) has expressed concern with the Hungarian government over whether changes to its constitution comply with EU law. Olivier Bailly, a Commission spokesman, said that the Commission is currently studying 30 laws, which were adopted as part of the revised constitution. Viviane Reding, the European commissioner for justice, fundamental rights and citizenship, is particularly concerned with whether the laws guaranteed the independence of national judges and the national supervisor on data protection. Reding wrote to Hungarian ministers in December “spelling out her doubts” over the laws.
Hungary Files Further Amendments to Meet EU Conditions for IMF Aid Talks
Hungary’s government filed further amendments to laws criticized by the European Commission that have blocked the start of talks on a European Union and International Monetary Fund loan. The latest changes narrow the prime minister’s room to fire the independent data-protection commissioner, according to the amendment posted on Parliament’s website yesterday. It doesn’t address a second EU objection about the termination of the previous commissioner’s mandate before it expired. The amendments aim to “strengthen the independence” of the data-protection agency “in line with the European Commission’s concerns,” according to the document.
The European Commission this week took a formal step toward seeking a court order to require Hungary to redraft laws on the judiciary and data-protection agency and asked for more information on planned changes to a new central bank law.