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Civil society organizations concerned with privacy and data protection are meeting as “The Public Voice” in Uruguay, in advance of the 34th Annual Meeting of Data Protection Authorities and Privacy Commissioners. At the opening panel of The Public Voice, Article 29 Working Party Chair Jacob Konstamm spoke in favor of strengthening the pending EU Data Protection Regulation, observing that he preferred the “leaked draft” that circulated before the official draft was unveiled in January. Konstamm lamented that government and business are not treated equally in one instrument under the current proposals, with government subject to a proposed non-self-executing Directive and business subject to the proposed Regulation. Explaining that negotiations between the EU Parliament and Council will begin in Spring 2013, Konstamm observed that there currently is “fierce lobbying” going on in Brussels by the U.S. government and the IT industry that “threatens to weaken” the proposed Regulation. Konstamm focused in particular on three issues he declared as critical in consideration of the EU Regulation: explicit consent; the definition of personal data; and purpose limitation.

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