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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.

  • 01 December 2016

    An ethical approach to fundamental rights - read the latest blogpost by Giovanni Buttarelli

  • 18 November 2016

    Breaking the rules: conducting administrative inquiries in the EU institutions - read the latest blogpost by Wojciech Wiewiórowski

  • 15 November 2016

    An ancient city looking to the future: The 38th International Privacy Conference in Marrakech - read the latest blogpost by Giovanni Buttarelli

  • 08 November 2016

    A smart approach: counteract the bias in artificial intelligence - read the latest blogpost by Giovanni Buttarelli.

  • 07 November 2016

    Data protection for digital communication - read the latest blogpost by Wojciech Wiewiórowski.

  • 07 December 2016

    Conference on Economic Developments in European Competition Policy, Big Data and the Search for a Competition Problem, Speech by Giovanni Buttarelli, Brussels, Belgium

  • 06 December 2016

    Giovanni Buttarelli meeting Terrell McSweeny, Commissioner, US Federal Trade Commission, Brussels Belgium

  • 01 December 2016

    7th Annual Data Protection and Privacy Conference, Speech by Giovanni Buttarelli, Brussels, Belgium

  • 01 December 2016

    Giovanni Buttarelli meeting with Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol, Brussels, Belgium

  • 29 November 2016

    Giovanni Buttarelli participates in the meeting of High Level Expert Group on Information Systems and Interoperability, Brussels, Belgium

  • 29 November 2016

    46th Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities Forum, panel on International Cooperation. Personal Data Protection Agreements. Relevant Experiences and Convention 108, Speech by Wojciech Wiewiórowski, Manzanillo, Mexico

  • 28 November 2016

    Wojciech Wiewiórowski receives a delegation from Korea Internet Security Agency, Brussels, Belgium

  • 25 November 2016

    Wojciech Wiewiórowski pays a visit to European Union Intellectual Property Office, Alicante, Spain