December 22, 2013

The Sound Of Privacy

© By Cary J. Calderone, Esquire

This is revisited from the archive.  Originally published on 12/25/2011

Still available on Amazon!
It is the Christmas season.  Those of us involved in wish you and yours the happiest of Holiday seasons.  Along with many of the more important traditions that occur, this time of year brings television repeats of classic movies like The Sound of Music.  For the past few years, I could not help but think of e-discovery and data privacy while watching parts of this movie.  Now, I am not obsessed with e-discovery and data law. I promise you.  However, a few scenes from the movie explain in most vivid detail just why the EU has a very different attitude and set of rules towards email and other information that may reveal a user's personal identification.  So, this post is for all of you who are not aware, or, are uncertain as to why the EU Data Protection Act is far more strict and penal in attempting to protect personal privacy at work.  Their default is, if it identifies a person by name, it is personal and protected by law.  In the U.S., if it is about business or on the company servers, it's not protected.  If you don't think this is still a relevant distinction, then you have not followed the NSA and Edward Snowden story.  The comments from Angela Merkel were most illuminating as she compared the NSA to Stasi.  In Germany, they still feel personal privacy reigns supreme.  But, let's see if these bits of dialogue from the movie validate this theory and perhaps give you an idea of who, originally is to blame.  Take, for example: 

Rolf the Nazi courier to Lissel, when delivering a telegram for Captain Von Trapp- “We make it our business to know everything about everyone.”  
Or, dialogue from Heir Zeller-“You were sent a telegram which you did not answer.  A telegram from Admiral Von Schreiber of the navy of the 3rd Reich.”
Captain Von Trapp “I was under the impression Heir Zeller that the contents of telegrams in Austria are private!  At least the Austria I know.”
The reasons should now be clear.  Once we in America understand the origins of the EU Data Protection Act, it will be easier for us to put in the systems and policies  necessary to better comply with the rules.  After the NSA scandal, it is likely the EU Data Protection Act will become even more the gravamen of information management policies.  Until next time, if you are frustrated and angry with the challenge of navigating US Data rules and EU Rules at the same time, take heart.  You are not alone.  We can all just blame the Nazis...

Happy Holidays

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