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                                 RECOMMENDATION No R (99) 5




                       for the protection of individuals with regard
                       to the collection

                         and processing of personal data on
                         information highways

                         (adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 23
                         February 1999

                              at the 660th meeting of the Ministers'


The Committee of Ministers, under the terms of Article 15.b of the
Statute of the Council of Europe,

Considering that the aim of the Council of Europe is to achieve
greater unity among its members;

Noting the developments in new technologies and new communications and
on-line information services;

Aware that these developments will influence the functioning of
society in general and relations between individuals, in particular in
offering increased possibilities for communication and exchange of
information at national and international levels;

Aware of the advantages which users of new technologies can gain from
these developments;

Considering, nevertheless, that technological development and the
generalisation of collection and processing of personal data on
information highways carries risks for the privacy of natural persons;

Considering that technological development also makes it possible to
contribute towards the respect of fundamental rights and freedoms, and
in particular the right to privacy, when personal data concerning
natural persons are processed;

Aware of the need to develop techniques which permit the anonymity of
data subjects and the confidentiality of the information exchanged on
information highways while respecting the rights and freedoms of
others and the values of a democratic society;

Aware that communications carried out with the aid of new information
technologies must also respect the human rights and fundamental
freedoms and, in particular, the right to privacy and to secrecy of
correspondence, as guaranteed by Article 8 of the European Convention
on Human Rights;

Recognising that the collection, processing and especially
communication of personal data by means of new information
technologies, particularly the information highways, are governed by
the provisions of the Convention for the Protection of Individuals
with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (Strasbourg 1981,
European Treaty Series No. 108) and by sectoral recommendations on
data protection and notably Recommendation No. R (90) 19 on the
protection of personal data used for payment and other related
operations, Recommendation No. R (91) 10 on the communication to third
parties of personal data held by public bodies, and Recommendation No.
R (95) 4 on the protection of personal data in the area of
telecommunications, with particular reference to telephone services;

Considering that it is appropriate to make users and Internet service
providers aware of the general provisions of the above-mentioned
convention with regard to the collection and processing of personal
data on information highways;

Recommends that the governments of member States disseminate widely
the Guidelines contained in the appendix to this recommendation,
especially to users and service providers on the Internet as well as
to any national authority responsible for supervising respect of data
protection provisions.


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