Tuesday, October 4, 2011

French Data Protection Authority Moves Forward with Privacy Seal Project

On September 22, 2011, new provisions under the French Data Protection Authority’s (“CNIL’s”) internal regulation came into force. The CNIL recently amended its regulations to incorporate a new chapter that sets forth a specific procedure for issuing privacy seals in accordance with the French Data Protection Act. The Act authorizes the CNIL to “issue a quality label to products or procedures intended to protect individuals with respect to processing of personal data, once [the CNIL] has recognized them as in compliance with the provisions of the Act.”
The new provisions create a labeling committee tasked with developing draft benchmarks for evaluating products or procedures and assessing privacy seal applications to determine whether the product or procedure complies with the relevant standards. Once the benchmarks have been published, applicants wishing to obtain a seal must fill out a form including a description of the relevant product or procedure and information on how it satisfies the requirements. The CNIL will have two months from the date it receives an application to test the product or procedure for compliance and make a decision about whether to grant a privacy seal.
I think this has the makings of an excellent program which will  enable consumers to determine whether a product or procedure comports with certain baseline privacy standards. As important, having a trusted filter will help privacy sensitive consumers to remain comfortable and confident with their choices without having to do an exhaustive due diligence in each and every instance.



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