Saturday 29 September 2012

Three cheers for New Zealand

Brilliant news from the European Commission – soon, it’s likely to publish a decision on whether a country that most of us could actually point out on a globe has got adequate data protection standards.

I appreciate that this is a highly unusual, but very welcome move. Admittedly, it’s probably not a country that many Brits might instinctively export personal data too, but if it’s good enough for the Hobbits, it’s good enough for me.

It appears that the Commission is minded to make an announcement because the Article 29 Working Party adopted a favourable decision on adequacy and New Zealand back in April 2011, and now everyone is beyond embarrassed at the time it’s taken for the Commission to sign it off.

Still, mustn’t carp from the sidelines. Let’s look on the bright side. With a population of 4,400,000, it’s great to appreciate that so much attention has been devoted to a people that might comfortably fit into a city the size of Liverpool.

And let’s wait with eager anticipation for the next set of adequacy decisions to come, probably about countries that many of us would be hard pressed to easily locate (or describe their neighbours).

Who knows who could be next? After all, word is surfacing that the Article 29 Working Party has recently agreed that Monaco (population 37,000, slightly smaller than the English city of Salisbury) has adequate standards. Granted, I would fail my European Citizenship test by being able to confidently point to it on a map today, but perhaps in a few years time the mighty Commission might kindly indicate whether it shares the same view as the Working Party.

One lives in hope.


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