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    European Voice: Commission Dismantles Data Watchdog Group

    The European Voice reports:

    The European Commission has disbanded a group of experts that was supposed to review EU data protection legislation, following complaints in the French parliament that the body comprised people “representing American interests”.

    The group of five experts, one of whom works for Google and another for Intel, was disbanded at the end of January – just over a month after the group first met – despite having been set up for a one-year renewable term. Alex Türk, a French senator and the chairman of data protection supervisors from the 27 member states, is understood to have complained about the group to Jacques Barrot, his compatriot, who is the European commissioner for justice, freedom and security. […]

    A spokesman for Barrot denied that any pressure was put on the commissioner to disband the group. He said that Barrot had wanted to broaden the consultation on the review of data protection laws beyond a small group of experts. […]

    Barrot’s spokesman said that it was not unusual for an expert group set up by the Commission with a one-year mandate to be disbanded after one meeting. […]

    The group’s experts […] included: Peter Fleischer, global privacy counsel for Google; David Hoffman, director of security policy and global privacy officer for Intel; Henriette Tielemans a privacy lawyer with Covington and Burling, a US law firm; Christopher Kuner, a privacy lawyer with Hunton and Williams, a US law firm; and Jacob Kohnstamm, chairman of the Dutch data protection authority.

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