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Commission to renegotiate Council of Europe Data Protection Convention on behalf of EU

European Commission - MEMO/12/877   19/11/2012

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European Commission

MEMO

Brussels, 19 November 2012

Commission to renegotiate Council of Europe Data Protection Convention on behalf of EU

Today the Commission adopted a recommendation that will allow it to negotiate the modernisation of Convention 108, the Council of Europe's convention on data protection, on behalf of the European Union. The Commission will ensure the Convention provides for a high level of protection of fundamental rights and freedoms with respect to processing of personal data which reflect the EU's internal rules.

Europe is one of the few places in the world which already has strong data protection rules. But they need to be updated to bring consumer rights into the digital world. This is why, on 25 January 2012, the Commission proposed to modernise current EU data protection rules (see IP/12/46 and MEMO/12/41). The new rules will establish a high and uniform level of data protection legislation within the EU making sure that Europe's 500 million citizens will enjoy the same level of protection no matter where their data are stored or processed.

"I am very pleased to see the Commission representing the EU at the negotiating table in the Council of Europe," said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commission. "We are setting new and higher standards for data protection in the EU. But in this brave new digital age, data knows no national borders – these negotiations are an opportunity to build a new gold standard of data protection across the globe."

Background

The Convention of the Council of Europe for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (Convention 108) was the first legally binding international instrument in the field of data protection. In order to respond to the rapid technological developments and globalisation trends that have brought new challenges for the protection of personal data, the Council of Europe has begun discussions on the modernisation of Convention 108.

The modernisation of the Council of Europe's rules coincides with the comprehensive reform of the European Union's laws on data protection.

The negotiation is an opportunity to export the EU's gold standard of data protection beyond the borders of the Member States.


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