Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Improving data protection in the EU

On the 19th of November the European Commission adopted a recommendation according to which it would be able to renegotiate the Council of Europe Data Protection Convention, Convention 108, on behalf of the EU. The goal is to increase the current level of protection of fundamental rights offered in processing of personal data. This change would go hand in hand with the planned reform of data protection rules (see: here). The European Commission hopes also to export the EU's standard of data protection beyond Europe. (Commission to renegotiate Council of Europe Data Protection Convention on behalf of the EU)

A few days later, on the 23rd of November, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) adopted a Policy on Consultations in the field of Supervision & Enforcement. This policy points out to EU institutions and bodies, as well as Data Protection Officers (DPOs) when to consult the EDPS when they draft any rules involving processing of personal information (e.g., contract tenders, requests for information, video surveillance etc.). The aim of the policy is to better protect personal data of the EU staff but also of EU citizens (consumers) in procedures that take place at a higher level of administration.

Giovanni Buttarelli, Assistant EDPS, says "In order to effectively respect the fundamental right to data protection of staff and citizens, EU institutions and bodies must ensure accountability when developing and implementing internal measures and from the outset, seek the expert advice of their Data Protection Officer. If the DPO needs guidance, for example in cases of complexity or when related to appreciable risks to the rights and freedoms of data subjects, the DPO or the institution may refer a consultation to the EDPS." (EDPS: greater accountability of EU institutions and bodies and involvement of DPOs for better data protection)

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