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Data protection


The right to protection of personal data is a fundamental right. It is different from, but closely linked to, the right to respect for private and family life. This distinction is notably made in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights - which mentions the two rights separately, although next to each other in Articles 7 and 8.

Data protection is highly developed in the EU. The central piece of legislation is Directive 95/46/EC , which regulates the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and the free movement of such data. Implemented into national laws, the Directive applies to all EU Member States as well as to Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 lays down the same rights and obligations, but on the level of the EU institutions and bodies. It also establishes the EDPS as independent supervisory authority with the task of ensuring that the Regulation is complied with.

Citizens who feel that their rights have been infringed should contact the competent data protection authority, at national or European level.

As this is a specialised field, some useful information is available in the glossary, and the Q&A section of this website. This may also be helpful for those who want to know more about the obligations they need to comply with.

  • 10 February 2017

    Is your toaster watching you?, Lunchtime conference on the Internet of Things, Speeches by Giovanni Buttarelli and Wojciech Wiewiórowski, Brussels, Belgium

  • 08 February 2017

    6th Data Protection Forum with Mr Viljar PEEP, Director General, Estonian Data Protection Inspectorate, Participation of Giovanni Buttarelli and Wojciech Wiewiórowski, Brussels, Belgium

  • 08 February 2017

    e-Privacy Breakfast Debate organised by EIF, Speech by Wojciech Wiewiórowski, European Parliament, Brussels, Belgium

  • 08 February 2017

    e-Privacy Directive: Combining Modern Marketing & Privacy, Event organised by FEDMA, Speech by Wojciech Wiewiórowski, Brussels, Belgium

  • 07 February 2017

    109th Plenary meeting of the Article 29 Working Party, Participation of Giovanni Buttarelli, Brussels, Belgium

  • 06 February 2017

    Workshop on the current trends and practices in biobanking in the light of European and national data protection requirements? Participation of Wojciech Wiewiórowski, Brussels, Belgium

  • 03 February 2017

    Giovanni Buttarelli speaking on GDPR in panel New rules and what to do next in the conference organised by Confindustria Il nuovo Regolamento europeo sulla protezione dei dati personali, Rome, Italy

  • 01 February 2017

    Giovanni Buttarelli meeting with Bob Quinn, Senior Executive Vice President, AT&T, Brussels, Belgium