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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.

  • 15 March 2017

    Data Protection and the EU institutions. Read the latest blogpost by Giovanni Buttarelli and the EDPS Opinion.

  • 15 March 2017

    EDPS sees opportunity for stronger consumer and data protection. Read the EDPS Opinion and the press release.

  • 13 March 2017

    2018 International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners to be hosted in Brussels. Read the press statement.

  • 07 March 2017

    EDPS calls for consistent improvements in the approach to EU border policy. Read the EDPS Opinion and the press release.

  • 15 February 2017

    Priorities for 2017: The EDPS as an advisor to the EU Institutions. Read the priorities and our blogpost.

  • 23 March 2017

    Forum on International Privacy Law, Participation of Wojciech Wiewiórowski, Königstein, Germany

  • 23 March 2017

    Participation of Giovanni Buttarelli in DAPIX, Brussels, Belgium

  • 23 March 2017

    Concurrences Review, Law & Economics Workshop: Big Data, Speech by Giovanni Buttarelli, Brussels, Belgium

  • 13 March 2017

    Regulating Privacy through Ethical Standards and Accountability Principles in the era of Big Data, Keynote speech of Wojciech Wiewiórowski: Towards a new digital ethics – data, dignity and technology: How to ensure accountability in personal data management?, Brussels, Belgium

  • 13 March 2017

    Privacy Day at ICANN, Participation of Giovanni Buttarelli, Copenhagen, Denmark

  • 13 March 2017

    Council Working Party on Financial Services, Participation of Wojciech Wiewiórowski, Brussels, Belgium

  • 09 March 2017

    Article 29 Working Party, Borders, Travel & Law Enforcement subgroup, Participation of Wojciech Wiewiórowski, Brussels, Belgium

  • 07 March 2017

    eID under eIDAS - compliance, state of play and technology trends, Participation of Wojciech Wiewiórowski in the Webinar