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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.

  • 18 July 2016

    Data protection and Whistleblowing in the EU Institutions. Please read the EDPS guidelines and the press release.

  • 15 July 2016

    The EDPS’ free app, EU Data Protection, has been updated! You can now consult the texts of General Data Protection Regulation (REG) 2016/679 and the Directive 2016/680 for the police and criminal justice sector alongside the texts they replace.

  • 01 July 2016

    Our latest newsletter is online now.

  • 21 June 2016

    Re-focusing on the human dimension of data protection - read the latest blogpost by Wojciech Wiewiórowski.

  • 20 June 2016

    Video recordings of the EDPS meeting with civil society organisations on the state of data protection and privacy in the EU are now available here.

  • 25 July 2016

    Extraordinary Plenary Session of the Article 29 Working Party, Participation of Giovanni Buttarelli, Brussels, Belgium

  • 21 July 2016

    45th Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities Forum, Participation and speeches of Giovanni Buttarelli on Update on EU GDPR and Calibrating Privacy Principles to a Big Data and Digital Society, Singapore

  • 14 July 2016

    Launch of EU Data Protection Whitepaper, British Chamber of Commerce in Denmark, Keynote speech by Giovanni Buttarelli, Brussels, Belgium

  • 07 July 2016

    Marketing and profiling in the European Union, participation and speeches by Giovanni Buttarelli and Wojciech Wiewiórowski, Brussels, Belgium

  • 06 July 2016

    Privacy Laws & Business Annual International Conference, Wojciech Wiewiórowski in panels on Privacy terms and conditions and How data protection rules should be enforced in tandem with competition and consumer policy, Cambridge, UK

  • 06 July 2016

    Confindustria Radio Televisioni General Assembly 2016, Giovanni Buttarelli in a panel on Authority, Markets and Rights, Rome, Italy

  • 30 June 2016

    Reframing Data Transparency, Wojciech Wiewiórowski in a Roundtable Discussion organised by the Centre for Information Policy Leadership and Telefónica, London, UK

  • 22 June 2016

    Fundamental Rights Forum, Wojciech Wiewiórowski in a plenary debate, Vienna, Austria