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Brussels, Monday 15 November 2010

Data protection reform strategy: EDPS urges Commission to meet the challenge of an ambitious reform for a strong and effective data protection

Today, Peter Hustinx, European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), and Giovanni Buttarelli, Assistant Supervisor, spoke to the press about the future of the EU legal framework for data protection and addressed in particular the European Commission's recent communication on a data protection reform strategy. The press conference also provided the opportunity to connect this with the EDPS role and contribution by presenting the main features of his activities in the past year.

The EDPS first emphasised the importance of the reform of legal framework for data protection, which he considers as very timely to remain effective in a European information society of 2015 and beyond. He insisted on the need for a strong and effective data protection in a society where personal information is used in quantities that can not be measured, very often without individuals being aware of it. The EDPS warmly welcomed the Commission's communication and expressed his full support to the issues identified and to its main lines of action as a first step in a revision process whose challenges are huge. He therefore called on the Commission to seize this opportunity to come up with ambitious proposals that would reflect the equally ambitious goals set out in its communication.

"Data protection is not an abstract thing. It relates to everybody's life, every moment of every day. A strong data protection also supports and underpins other issues, such as our European economy, our security, the accountability of our governments, and trust in the information society" said Peter Hustinx. "There is no room for mistakes here: the challenges are enormous. That is why the proposed solutions must be equally ambitious and actually enhance the effectiveness of the instruments of data protection".

The EDPS also gave his views on the main points for the new framework. He highlighted in particular his support to achieving further harmonisation of national data protection legislation, the need for a technologically neutral approach, the inclusion of the principles of privacy by design and accountability, the introduction of a mandatory security breach notification covering all relevant sectors, and the inclusion of the areas of police and justice in the general framework.

The EDPS will continue to closely follow the work of the Commission in the time to come and intends to issue an opinion going into more details within a few weeks.

In the meantime however, the EDPS pointed out the need of ensuring the application of the present rules. This should be done though different means, including better enforcement at national and EU levels, making sure that privacy considerations are proactively built in in new regulations having an impact on data protection, and reinforcing the international instruments in data protection, in close cooperation with all relevant actors.

The EDPS also recalled his role and contribution as an advisor in the EU legislative process and as a guardian of lawful data processing in the EU administration. He will continue his work in supervision, consultation and cooperation to ensure that all EU institutions and bodies keep on improving their level of compliance with data protection rules when they process personal data and develop new legislation or policies.

For more information, please contact the EDPS Press Service at:

EDPS - The European guardian of personal data protection

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