Belgium’s Data Protection Authority’s independence no longer guaranteed, director warns
Monday, 22 February 2021
The independence of the Data Protection Authority (DPA) is no longer guaranteed, said its director, Alexandra Jaspar, on Monday in the programme Matin Première on RTBF.
“We have to control the state but how can we do that when we have officials among us who work for the state,” she wondered.
“In the body that gives opinions on draft laws, there are seven of us. Of these, four people work for the state and are therefore judges and parties,” she explained.
“We first wrote to parliament in September to warn it that we were being infiltrated by those we are supposed to be monitoring. There was no reaction. In January, we were still in the same situation,” Jaspar said.
“So we wrote back to Parliament asking it to lift the illegal warrants. Its only reaction was to ask for an audit by the Court of Auditors,” she continued, expressing her concern about the management of data collected by the state.
“I am worried and I have been worried for several months now. It is perfectly normal for the state to collect some of our data, but what worries us is that the state is collecting an impressive amount of data which it is storing without marking out the possibilities of future use and re-use of this data,” she pointed out.
“We are therefore left with a huge stock of data and the state does not tell us precisely what can be done with it”, with the possibility that this could lead to multiple “abuses”, added Alexandra Jaspar.
The latter finally regretted that the DPA is not always consulted and that when it is, “its opinions are generally not followed.”