Microsoft’s .NET Passport awaits clearance

By : |January 30, 2003 0

BRUSSELS: European Union data controllers have decided to delay the publication of long-awaited data privacy guidelines for online authentication systems, such as Microsoft’s .NET Passport, the European Commission said.

“The member states’ data protection authorities… have decided not to publish their document concerning on-line authentication systems today,” EU Commission spokesman Jonathan Todd said in a statement.

An EU source said the French delegate had insisted the document, drafted in English, should not be published until a French translation was available. The privacy watchdogs were expected to settle a half-year long examination by ruling that Passport and other similar systems broadly comply with EU data protection rules provided that some changes were implemented, EU sources said last week.

In July the group had decided to look closer at Passport and other on-line authentication systems, such as the one by the Liberty Alliance, which includes Sun Microsystems, amid legal concerns that these systems may violate EU privacy rules.

An official from the Liberty Alliance said that he had not been briefed despite a daylong wait. National data controllers are charged with monitoring compliance with the EU’s tough rules on personal data privacy.

A source close to the data controllers committee said he was not surprised by the delay, adding “whenever you’re dealing with a privacy matter, you’re bound to have an objection from one of the bigger member states”.

© Reuters

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