EU discovers that privacy laws can be abused. By someone other than the EU.

February 6

You’ve got to hand it to the Turks.  Just when it seemed that the European Union would never see the danger (as opposed to the opportunity) of abusive privacy laws, the Turkish Parliament adopted one that caused even the EU to choke.  According to the Wall Street Journal, the law is a prime candidate for a Privy — a genuinely Dubious Achievement in Privacy Law:

The law, which must be approved by President Abdullah Gül to take effect, would allow the agency charged with monitoring telecommunications to block access to Internet sites within four hours of receiving complaints about privacy violations. …

“The approach that the Internet is being banned, is being censored is wrong,” Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications Minister Lutfi Elvan said Thursday. The measure will prevent infringement of personal rights by bypassing lengthy court procedures that failed to protect privacy in a timely manner, he said.

Shortly after the bill passed, the European Union, which Turkey seeks to join, criticized it for introducing restrictions on freedom of expression. Turkey has an estimated 40 million Internet users.

“The Turkish public deserves more information and more transparency, not more restrictions,” said Peter Stano, spokesman for the European Commissioner for Enlargement Stefan Füle. “The law needs to be revised in line with European standards.”

Meeting “European standards” for privacy law?  That’ll be tough.

I’m guessing the Turkish Parliament will be forced to choose between renaming the law as “The Reding Right to Be Forgotten, Faster, Act” or simply amending it so it applies only to American corporations.

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Eugene Volokh · February 6