Letter: Data protection

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Sir: Amnesty International's claim that the draft EC directive on data protection poses a threat to human rights (13 July), seriously misrepresents the proposed measure. It was never intended that the consent of data subjects would be required for processing their personal data for legitimate purposes, though the English translation was unsatisfactory. Nor was it aimed at curbing what your reporter calls the junk-mail industry.

It was, quite simply, intended to provide safeguards for the individual and to ensure as much transparency as possible in the use of personal data. It certainly had faults, but Commission officials responsible for it have responded courteously and positively to those, including the European Parliament, who have pointed out the difficulties that some of the provisions would cause.

In consequence, I am confident that we shall end up with a directive which fully protects the interests of data subjects, and which does not impose needless restrictions on data users.

Yours faithfully,



Data Protection Committee

The Advertising Association

London, SW1

13 July