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We don't give a flying duck about your personal data

by on28 August 2015

Says the Montenegrin Data Protection Agency to its gullible citizens.

This is the latest of a number of deliberations by the European Data Protection Agencies on whether or not their national laws apply to the processing of personal data of their citizens by multibillion, I meant multinational conglomerates. And the Montenegrin DPA says - no!

As we find out from our friends over at BDK law office, there's been an interesting new development in Montenegro. The tiny and identity-confused country of some 650 thousand people in the southeast of Europe bills itself as the new Monaco. And with its many high luxury marine resort developments along its dreamlike coast, it might very well be right about that. What it also seems to be, and this is far less appealing to anyone not fortunate enough to be in posession of a Montenegrin passport already, is utterly uninterested in the lives of its citizens.

While France, Belgium, Spain and other European countries took it upon themselves to make a clear statement that yes, their citizens do enjoy the protection of the local law from unreasonable gobbling and processing of their personal data by the likes of Google and Facebook, Montenegrin authorities are washing their hands. You crucified him (rather, yourselves), we have nothing to do with it, the Data Protection Agency of Montenegro says.

I mean, come on, even two-faced Germany who was "shocked" to reveal that its Chancellor was spied on by the US, while buying NSA software to spy on its own citizens and forward the data to the US, has put in place a limitation on what companies can do with citizens' personal information.

This entire deliberation in Montenegro was brought about by a concerned civil rights activist who requested a clarification on Facebook's much contested real names policy. Instead of focusing on that special case, the country's DPA saw it as a perfect opportunity to make it clear to everyone that it will not, and I repeat, not be forced into doing its own job. After all, that's not what the grey heads at the DPA of are getting paid for. Or so it seems. Maybe, I'm speculating here, they see it as their job to regularly visit the high luxury coastal resorts. Who knows.

The entire nanny-state vs the extreme liberal view of citizens as absolutely informed rational decision makers argument is already too tired to get into here. But I wonder, since the people of Montenegro are paying quite high taxes, shouldn't they enjoy at least basic protection by their appointed agencies in these crazy times of technological progress that hardly anyone can keep up with. After all, that progress isn't limited to the virtual, it has profound consequences on our lives in the real world as well.

A case like this raises many more questions than it clarifies. One of the main questions that comes to my mind is, how much longer is the unprecedented invasion of companies big and small into the territory of human rights going to be tollerated.

Last modified on 28 August 2015
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