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Principle intended to ensure that controllers are more generally in control and in the position to ensure and demonstrate compliance with data protection principles in practice. Accountability requires that controllers put in place internal mechanisms and control systems that ensure compliance and provide evidence – such as audit reports – to demonstrate compliance to external stakeholders, including supervisory authorities.


The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a proposed multilateral trade agreement for establishing international standards on intellectual-property-rights enforcement throughout the participating countries. Its proponents describe it as a response "to the increase in global trade of counterfeit goods and pirated copyright-protected works." The scope of ACTA is broad, including counterfeit goods, generic medicines, and "piracy over the Internet".

In February 2010, the EDPS issued an opinion on the negotiations aimed at adopting the new agreement in which he warned against its potential incompatibility with the EU data protection regime.

Adequacy decision 

An “adequacy decision” is a decision adopted by the European Commission on the basis of Article 25(6) of Directive 95/46/EC, which establishes that a third country ensures an adequate level of protection of personal data by reason of its domestic law or the international commitments it has entered into.

The effect of such a decision is that personal data can flow from the 27 EU Member States and the three European Economic Area member countries (Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland) to that third country, without any further safeguards.

The Commission has so far issued seven adequacy decisions recognizing Switzerland, Canada, Argentina, Guernsey, Isle of Man, the US Department of Commerce's Safe Harbor Privacy Principles, and the transfer of Air Passenger Name Record (PNR) data to the United States' Bureau of Customs and Border Protection as providing adequate protection.

Adequacy decisions are adopted pursuant to the so-called "comitology procedure", which involves the following steps:

  • a proposal from the Commission;
  • an opinion of the Article 29 Working Party;
  • an opinion of the Article 31 Committee delivered by a qualified majority of Member States;
  • a thirty-day right of scrutiny for the European Parliament to check if the Commission has used its executing powers correctly; and
  • the adoption of the decision by the College of Commissioners.

► Commission Adequacy Decision

Article 29 Working Party 

The "Article 29 Working Party" is the short name of the Data Protection Working Party established by Article 29 of Directive 95/46/EC. It provides the European Commission with independent advice on data protection matters and helps in the development of harmonised policies for data protection in the EU Member States.

The Working Party is composed of:

  • representatives of the national supervisory authorities in the Member States;
  • a representative of the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS);
  • a representative of the European Commission (the latter also provides the secretariat for the Working Party).

More information on Article 29 Working Party

Article 31 Committee 

The Article 31 Committee was established by Article 31 of Directive 95/46/EC.

It is comprised of representatives of the Member States who cooperate in taking decisions whenever Member States' approval is required under the Directive. By way of example, the Committee cooperates in the procedure for the adoption of Adequacy decisions.


Automated individual decision 

An “automated individual decision” is a decision which significantly affects a person and which is based solely on automated processing of personal data in order to evaluate this person. Such an evaluation may relate to different personal aspects, such as performance at work, creditworthiness, reliability, conduct, etc.

Article 15 of Directive 95/46/EC and Article 19 of Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 lay down the right for individuals to object to decisions about them and solely based on automated means, unless certain conditions are fulfilled or appropriate safeguards are put in place.

  • 27 November 2015

    Giovanni Buttarelli awarded Premio Dona 2015 for his commitment to protecting privacy of European consumers, Rome, Italy

  • 19 November 2015
    Finishing line in sight for the GDPR: the devil is in the details, W. Wiewiórowski, Assistant EDPS, in the panel debate with Jan Philipp Albrecht, MEP. Watch the video.
  • 19 November 2015

    EDPS encourages a new debate on Big Data. Read our Opinion and the press release.

  • 17 November 2015
    We are in mourning for the victims and families of the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris. These attacks are against us all and we stand united.
  • 13 November 2015

    Finishing line in sight for the GDPR: the devil is in the details
    – W. Wiewiórowski in the live panel debate at 11:00 CET on 13 November 2015. Watch the web streaming.
  • 26 November 2015
    The Industrial Internet Era, Brussels, Belgium, Wojciech Wiewiórowski takes part in panel Cybersecurity, Privacy and the Industrial IoT
  • 17 November 2015
  • 10 November 2015

    Information Security Solutions Europe Conference, Berlin, Germany, ...

  • 05 November 2015

    DPO meeting
    hosted by ENISA, Athens, Greece, Giovanni Buttarelli and Wojciech Wiewiórowski participate in ...
  • 26 October 2015

    37th International Privacy Conference, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Giovanni Buttarelli and Wojciech Wiewiórowski attend ...

  • 16 October 2015

    The Borderline Between Cybersecurity and Individual Freedoms, 7th Semi-Annual ENAM Conference, Vilnius, Lithuania, keynote speech by Giovanni Buttarelli