Bonum Certa Men Certa

The EPO Bundestagate -- Part 4: Parroting the GDPR-Compliance Myth

Series index:

  1. The EPO Bundestagate -- Part 1: How the Bundestag Was (and Continues to be) Misled About EPO Affairs
  2. The EPO Bundestagate -- Part 2: Lack of Parliamentary Oversight, Many Questions and Few Answers…
  3. The EPO Bundestagate -- Part 3: A “Minor Interpellation” in the German Bundestag
  4. You are here ☞ Parroting the GDPR-Compliance Myth


EPO's GDPR-Compliance Myth
What could possibly have led the German government to parrot the EPO's bogus and self-serving claims about GDPR-compliance?



Summary: The EPO had been in violation of GDPR (EU) for years, both under Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos; but the lies persisted

Back in October 2019, the FDP submitted another "minor interpellation" entitled "Data protection in relation to cooperation with the EPO" ("Datenschutz bei EPA-Zusammenarbeit" - Bundestag Printed Paper [PDF] no. 19/14490).



This interpellation contained a series of questions relating to the EPO's data protection framework, in particular in the context of data exchanges with national authorities such as the German Patent & Trademark Office.

"This interpellation contained a series of questions relating to the EPO's data protection framework, in particular in the context of data exchanges with national authorities such as the German Patent & Trademark Office."Under point 7. of the interpellation, the FDP explicitly raised the issue of the compliance of the EPO's data protection framework with the GDPR (which had entered into force over a year previously in May 2018).

The relevant passage of the interpellation reads as follows (in translation):

According to the knowledge of the Federal Government, is data processing at the EPO compliant with the provisions of the GDPR, or does it have any indications that would suggest a deviation from GDPR regulations?


The response of the Federal Government was published on 12 November 2019 (Bundestag Printed Paper [PDF] no. 19/15072).

The passage of the response which addresses point 7. of the FDP's interpellation reads as follows (in translation):

The Federal Government has no indication that the EPO does not comply with the provisions of the European data protection standards. The Board of Auditors of the European Patent Organisation, which is appointed by the Administrative Council under Article 49(1) EPC and carries out its activities in accordance with Articles 49 and 50 EPC and its Rules of Procedure and professional auditing standards, stated the following in its audit report for the financial year 2018 (document CA/20/19) (warning: epo.org link). Although the EPO, as an international organization, is not directly subject to EU rules, the basic principles of the GDPR have nevertheless been implemented, as data of European citizens are processed at the EPO. In addition, it was noted that for the sake of transparency, the EPO has already established a data protection register in the past to record all processing of personal data. Upon request, the information can be made available (publicly) to the data subject, thus ensuring the right to information.


The government's response is another classic piece of hand-waving and obfuscation about the atrociously deficient state of the EPO's data protection framework.

It is however worth looking at this response more closely because it seems to have come straight from the EPO's internal "echo chamber". There is very little evidence of any independent thought or research on the part of those responsible for drafting the government's statement of its position.

"It seems that the reader is supposed to accept these assertions on "blind faith"."What is particularly noteworthy is the fact that the German government appears to rely solely on the EPO's internal audit report for the financial year 2018 (CA/20/19) (warning: epo.org link) as the basis for its "considered opinion" that the EPO's data protection framework is GDPR-compliant.

There's just one small problem here.

Neither CA/20/19 nor any other internal "audit report" from the EPO contains a meaningful substantive assessment of the organisation's data protection framework and its purported compliance with GDPR standards.

The available audit reports from the EPO (CA/20/18, CA/20/19, CA/20/20) (warning: all are epo.org links) only contain cursory self-serving assertions to the effect that the organisation's data protection framework is "relatively closely aligned" with EU data processing regulations - whatever that is supposed to mean.

What is conspicuously absent is a credible independent audit of the EPO's data protection framework that could be considered to substantiate the self-serving assertions emanating from the EPO's senior management.

It seems that the reader is supposed to accept these assertions on "blind faith".

"For this reason it's a bit disconcerting to see the Federal Government of Germany still parroting the EPO's manifestly bogus and self-serving assertions about GDPR-compliance in such a naïve and uncritical manner in November 2019."However, this becomes difficult when it is recalled that back in 2016 the EPO staff union (SUEPO) commissioned a report about various aspects of EPO governance from external legal experts.

This report dated 31 May 2016 - which is publicly available - found that the EPO's data protection framework was not compliant with EU data protection standards and that it was in urgent need of a radical overhaul.

Nothing of substance has changed since May 2016.

For this reason it's a bit disconcerting to see the Federal Government of Germany still parroting the EPO's manifestly bogus and self-serving assertions about GDPR-compliance in such a naïve and uncritical manner in November 2019.

In the next part we will consider how this curious state of affairs came about.

Recent Techrights' Posts

Microsoft Lacks a Solid Strategic Plan Other Than Buying Its Own Stock (and Paying Staff in Shares)
Beware and be cautious of bubbles
Microsoft's Chatbot Strategy Resulted in Massive Losses, So Now It's Trying to Reinvent Itself as 'Hardware Company' (Once Again, Years After XBox, KIN, Windows Phone and Surface Failed Miserably)
revenues associated with Windows has fallen sharply
 
Microsoft's Pearls of Wisdom: Layoffs Are Growth
Microsoft boss: layoffs are "long-term growth."
[Meme] Hide the Bodies
hiding EPO's role in funding Lukashenko
Josef Kratochvíl and All the European Patent Organisation's Chiefs (at the Administrative Council Too) Notified That Over 1,000 Members of Staff Demand Action on Patent Quality and Compliance (Industry Too is Alarmed That Many Invalid Patents Get Granted)
Huge corruption
Debian trademark canceled
Debian trademark canceled
Links 23/02/2024: Feed Aggregator and 2 Years of Invasion, Alexei Navalny’s Mother Blackmailed
Links for the day
Gemini Links 23/02/2024: Getting 'Sick' of Modern Tech and Deletion of One's Reddit Account
Links for the day
Links 23/02/2024: 227 Microsoft Layoffs Noted in Santa Clara and Disaster in Rivian
Links for the day
IRC Proceedings: Thursday, February 22, 2024
IRC logs for Thursday, February 22, 2024
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
[Meme] It's NOT Your PC
losing control of hardware
Gemini Links 22/02/2024: Removing Radio Ads and Being Seen on the Internet
Links for the day
Mark Shuttleworth and the Question of Liability (Debian Volunteers He Pressured Before the Suicides)
Humanity for me
Mark Shuttleworth's (MS) Canonical Running Microsoft (MS) Ads, Mischaracterising Mass Surveillance as 'Confidential' (the Usual Lie)
The money talks, so the facts are absent
Ads as 'Articles'
Money buys perception manipulation (or reputation laundering) campaigns
Abraham Raji & Debian, DebConf kayak death: search abandoned, evading liability
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Links 22/02/2024: Chatbots Failing 'Big Time' and More Condemnations Appear of Bill Gates
Links for the day
There May be Close to 100,000,000 Laptops and Desktops Running GNU/Linux Around the World in 2024
hard to track the number
Search Engine Market Share Worldwide Shows How Badly Microsoft's Chatbot Strategy (Hopes) and Vapourware Have Failed
Bing, which was marketed as the forefront "product" for chatbots (Microsoft paid the media a lot of money for hype campaigns), gained nothing at Google's expense
[Meme] Demoralising and Putting Down Your Staff
unproductive and dangerous approach
This Week's Letter to António Campinos About Mean-Spirited Line Managers at the European Patent Office (EPO)
Seems like a way to get rid of staff. Some will resign in anger.
Software in the Public Interest (SPI) & Debian obfuscated structure fooled suicide victim's family: the ultimate example of bad faith
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, February 21, 2024
IRC logs for Wednesday, February 21, 2024
Gemini Links 22/02/2024: What We Pass On and HTTP Header Viewer
Links for the day
Manuel Estrada Sainz (ranty), Andres Garcia (ErConde) & Debian Deaths overworking
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
GNU/Linux Rising to 8% of Desktops/Laptops in Jordan?
what statCounter shows
[Meme] If Iraq Launches an Investigation Into How Microsoft Bought OpenAI Without Paying for It
fake "money" from Microsoft
Windows Has Fallen to 13% Market Share in Iraq (It was 100% Just 15 Years Ago), GNU/Linux Rose Sharply in Recent Years
In recent years Iraq was developing its own GNU/Linux distro
Springtime is Next, Here's What We Plan for March and April
This month and next month we expect to publish something unique about EPO abuses every day
Studying the Freedom of firefox-123.0.tar.bz2
The "F" in Firefox
Abraham Raji, Jens Schmalzing & debian-private cover-ups after deaths, accidents, suicides
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Microsoft Bribes, Keeping Regulators at Bay
crime and corruption
[Meme] The Quotas Came From Above
EPO targets
EPO Talent Planning & Architecture is Another Attack on EPO Staff and the Central Staff Committee (CSC) Explains Why
ignore the flowery words
[Meme] Just Following Orders From "The Fu**ing President" António Campinos
Salary? OBEY!
Links 21/02/2024: China Working on West-less Tech Future, More Bounties on Patent Troll Leigh M. Rothschild (Which IBM et al Failed to Dismantle at the Root)
Links for the day
Links 21/02/2024: Encryption Backdoors Deemed Not Legal, Decentralised Web Under Attack
Links for the day
Games:Steam Audio as Free Software, Hazard Pay, ChipWits, and More
7 stories for today
Julian Assange, Wikileaks & Debian-private
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, February 20, 2024
IRC logs for Tuesday, February 20, 2024
Links 21/02/2024: Microsoft Sued for Monopolistic Policies, More Layoffs Planned for Next Month
Links for the day