Privacy in mobile Internet in the context of the European Union data protection policy. Internet Society Conference (INET2002)

Published 14 Jun 2002 by Alberto Escudero Pascual

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Internet Society INET Conferences

The global telecommunication infrastructure will slowly converge toward an integrated packet switched network using the Internet Protocol as the common communication technology. First evidence of this convergence is the deployment of the third generation wireless infrastructure that brings together the radio access network and core network by using thenext generation Internet Protocol IPv6.

The paper presents how 'mobility' is supported in IPv6. Mobility is the capability of mobile terminal to be reachable by its home network IP address with independence of the point of attachment to the Internet. We show the kind of information items that are required to be in transit in the network to allow a mobile node to seamlessly communicate on the move.

The European Commission proposal for a Directive (COM(2000)385) on 'processing of personal data and protection of privacy in the electronic communication sector' is kept in a technological neutral man- ner which means that no standards are imposed. It includes definitions inter alia on 'location data' and 'traffic data' and foresees privacy safeguards and different levels of protection for distinct kind of data. After the technical and legal overview we discuss the difficulties to apply the de½nitions provided by the Directive to certain technology as mobility in IPv6.

Based on the reasoning included in the paper we argue that classifying and defining data by traditional means and ways without taking into account Internet's multi-layered architecture might lead to an insuficient level of privacy protection for certain sensitive data and might not be the most appropriate way to adapt and update the existing provisions to new and foreseeable developments in electronic communications services and technologies.

Keyword(s): Privacy, Unique Identifiers, IPv6, Data Protection