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Data Protection: EU-US Relations

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Simon of Highbury: Since the adoption of the Data Protection Directive, the European Commission has been in discussion with the authorities in the United States to determine the implications of the directive for the transfers of personal data from the EU to the US, and to find ways of resolving any difficulties which might be identified.

These discussions are being taken forward in a very positive way, with interested parties on both sides of the Atlantic recognising the importance of reaching an acceptable agreement to avoid any disruption to our trading relationship.

Copyright Law

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Simon of Highbury: The Government have no plans to review United Kingdom copyright law specifically in response to recent developments in on-line selling of goods, including books and recorded music. Under UK copyright law, rights holders already have control over the issuing of copies of their works to the public, and we are supporting work at EU and international level to ensure comparable protection elsewhere.


The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the development of their policy towards electronic commerce will be informed by the recent decision of France to raise the limit of freely usable cryptography from 40-bit to 128-bit keys.[HL842]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): The decision of France concerns the lifting of certain controls on the use and import of cryptographic products and brings it more into alignment with the policy in the UK, where there are no controls on the use of cryptography. There is therefore no need to amend UK policy in this respect.

Science Enterprise Challenge

Lord Howie of Troon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress has been made on the launch of the Science Enterprise Challenge.[HL1034]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: I am launching the Science Enterprise Challenge today. This meets one of our key commitments in the recent White Paper to further strengthen exploitation of the science base. This £25 million challenge is open to UK universities to compete for funds to endow up to eight new Science Enterprise Centres. Centres will bring the teaching of entrepreneurship and business skills into the science curriculum and be centres of excellence for the knowledge transfer process.

The challenge is in two stages. Applicants are invited to submit an outline business plan for Stage 1 by 14 April. Those who succeed in Stage 1 will be invited to submit a more detailed business plan in Stage 2. I hope to announce winners in the summer. The lead applicant must be a university. However, collaborative bids can include, for example, other higher educational institutions. Copies of the guidelines for Stage 1 have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

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