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Davos, 27 January 2012

Data Protection Day: safeguarding privacy rights

28 January is European Data Protection Day, a joint initiative by the European Commission and the Council of Europe to raise awareness of how people's personal information is dealt with and their rights to data protection. On 25 January, the European Commission adopted major proposals for a comprehensive reform of EU data protection rules to strengthen online privacy rights and boost Europe's digital economy (IP/12/46, MEMO/12/41).

Speaking from the World Economic Forum in Davos, and ahead of the Data Protection Day, European Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding and Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland said:

“Hyper-connectivity should go hand-in-hand with the protection of privacy online. The protection of personal data is a fundamental right. Information technology offers huge economic and social potential, which will be fully realised if citizens trust that their personal information online is protected."


The annual Data Protection Day aims to give people the chance to understand what personal data is collected and processed about them and why, and what their rights are with respect to this processing.

The European Commission proposals to reform the EU's 1995 data protection rules aim to strengthen online privacy rights and boost Europe's digital economy. Technological progress and globalisation have profoundly changed the way our data is collected, accessed and used. In addition, the 27 EU Member States have implemented the 1995 rules differently, resulting in divergences in enforcement. A single law will do away with the current fragmentation and costly administrative burdens, leading to savings for businesses of around €2.3 billion a year. The initiative will help reinforce consumer confidence in online services, providing a much needed boost to growth, jobs and innovation in Europe.

Further information

Watch or download the Commission's clip on data privacy and social networks – available in all official EU languages:

Council of Europe: Data Protection

European Commission: Data Protection

Homepage of Vice-President Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship:

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