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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.

  • 20 December 2016

    Our latest newsletter is online now.

  • 12 December 2016

    What to expect when we inspect - read the new EDPS Factsheet on inspections

  • 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

  • 20 January 2017

    Ch@arterClick! Project Workshop, Participation of Giovanni Buttarelli in Interactive Key-Note Panel: Plurality of legal instruments governing data protection – objectives, interactions, added value, Florence, Italy (via a video link)

  • 19 January 2017

    Giovanni Buttarelli participates in DAPIX meeting, Brussels, Belgium

  • 18 January 2017

    Giovanni Buttarelli and Wojciech Wiewiórowski meeting with  Mrs Mari Sonoda, Secretary-General for PPC  Secretariat, Brussels, Belgium

  • 12 January 2017

    S&D Workshop on Consumers' rights in the digital world, European Parliament, Participation of Giovanni Buttarelli in panel on Relationship between the DCD and the GDPR, Brussels, Belgium

  • 12 January 2017

    S&D Workshop on Consumers' rights in the digital world, European Parliament, Participation of Wojciech Wiewiórowski, Brussels, Belgium

  • 16 December 2016

    VUB Data Protection Law Reading Group, Participation of Giovanni Buttarelli and Wojciech Wiewiórowski, Brussels, Belgium

  • 14 December 2016

    Meeting of the Nordic Data Protection Commissioners, Participation of Wojciech Wiewiórowski, Brussels, Belgium

  • 13 December 2016

    5th Data Protection Forum with ICO Commissioner Elizabeth Denham, Participation of Giovanni Buttarelli and Wojciech Wiewiórowski, Brussels, Belgium