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European Union: Interim Agreement on SWIFT Bank Data Voted Down by European Parliament

(Mar. 12, 2010) On February 11, 2010, the European Parliament (EP) voted down an interim agreement between the European Union and the United States, which was expected to enter into force on February 1, 2010, and last until November, 1, 2010, when a new agreement would be negotiated. The agreement governs transfers of bank data […]

Netherlands: Court Test of Fingerprint Database Legality

(Feb. 24, 2010) It was reported on February 18, 2010, that a Dutch court may soon hear the appeal of Aaron Boudewijn, a law student at the University of Utrecht, against a municipal government decision to deny him a new passport because he had refused to be fingerprinted for it. Boudewijn was denied the new […]

Malawi: New Law Allows Unlimited Police Search

(Dec. 9, 2009) On December 2, 2008, the Malawi National Assembly passed a police bill that empowers the police to conduct searches without warrants, as long as they make a “recording of the exercise.” (MISA, Malawi Communiqué: Parliament Passes Police Bill Amid Protests from Opposition MPs, and Civil Society, THE ZIMBABWEAN, Dec. 7, 2009, available […]

Australia: Federal Government to Reform Privacy Laws

(Oct. 22, 2009) On October 14, 2009, the Australian Federal Government released the first part of its response to a major review of Australia's privacy laws that was undertaken by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC). (Enhancing National Privacy Protection, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet website, Oct. 2009, available at The ALRC's […]

Netherlands: Centralized Fingerprint Database for Passports

(Oct. 6, 2009) It was reported on September 18, 2009, that the Dutch government will store in one database the fingerprints required of citizens in applying for a new passport, a measure that goes beyond current European Union requirements. As of September 23, 2009, every Dutch passport applicant must allow the municipality to take four […]

United States: Federal Appeals Court Sets Limits on Government Access to Private Electronic Records

(Sept. 18, 2009) In a ruling issued August 26, 2009, a federal appeals court addressed the matter of procedures federal courts should observe in issuing search warrants and subpoenas for electronically stored information, holding that the “plain view” exception to the rule that only evidence covered by a search warrant may be seized is inapplicable […]

United States: Inmate Lacked Constitutional Privacy Protections to Suppress Incriminating Statement in Letter Seized by Authorities

(Aug. 20, 2009) The Maryland Court of Appeals has held that a prisoner in a maximum security prison did not have a legitimate expectation of privacy to protect his mail from being searched and a letter with an incriminating statement from being used as evidence. A state prisoner was accused of the murder of a […]

United Kingdom: Blogger Loses Battle in Right to Privacy

(June 19, 2009) In one of the first cases in the United Kingdom to test Internet confidentiality rights, a police blogger, known under the moniker “NightJack,” recently lost his bid to obtain an injunction to protect his anonymity. The NightJack blog was pushed to the forefront of public attention when it won the Orwell Prize […]

European Union: Data Protection Supervisor’s Opinion on Fingerprint Proposal

(Apr. 2, 2008) On March 26, 2008, the European Union Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), Peter Hustinx – who is in charge of safeguarding the personal data and the right to privacy of EU citizens – issued an opinion expressing his concern and raising a red flag over the European Commission’s proposal on harmonization of security […]

Greece: Use of Cameras During Demonstrations Allowed

(Dec. 2, 2007) During the 2004 Olympic Games, the Greek government spent close to €250 million (about US$359 million) to ensure the safety of athletes and spectators and the smooth operation of the games. Part of those funds was allocated to purchase and install 300 closed-circuit cameras. However, the Hellenic Data Protection Authority, which is […]