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    Deutsche Welle: Germany unveils plan to tighten Internet privacy

    Deutsche Welle reports on proposed legislation in Germany that would strengthen online privacy protections:

    Germany’s interior minister on Wednesday unveiled a draft law to tighten rules on Internet privacy, sparked by the uproar this summer over the Google Street View mapping service. The draft is a combination of self-regulation by Google and other companies, and new rules that would make it illegal to gather certain kinds of personal information.

    Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said it was “a particularly serious invasion of privacy rights” when sites “publish data that has been aggregated with commercial interests in mind” and which “yield a comprehensive personality of travel profile.” […]

    Web services that assemble personal profiles would only be allowed if the people being profiled gave their consent or a there was a compelling reason for making such information public.

    The new law, if passed, would amend the current Federal Privacy Act and create a central online repository for geo-spatial and geo-location information. […]

    But data protection commissioners harshly criticized the draft law, especially the self-regulation aspect. They said the rules did not go far enough, nor did they have teeth.

    “Companies that don’t sign up to self-regulate won’t be bound, and there won’t be any independent privacy watchdog to police it,” said Johannes Caspar, a commissioner from the federal state of Hamburg.

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