Proposed Date Protection Regulation - Progress?

The proposed Data Protection Regulation continues its path towards ultimate adoption. At a recent Informal Justice and Home Affairs Ministers’ Meeting chaired by the Irish presidency on 17/18 January, the Presidency invited Justice Ministers and Members of the European Parliament Ministers to give further consideration in particular to the implications of the proposed “household exemption”, the so-called “right to be forgotten” and the proposed framework of sanctions and fines as set out in the original draft of the Proposed Regulation. In a joint statement by Commissioner Viviane Reding and Irish Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter on 29 January 2013, the proposed reforms were stated to have “received strong support, helping to accelerate the pace for getting this important reform agreed before the end of this year”.

European Data Protection Supervisor Publishes 2013/14 Strategy

In a further development, the European Data Protection Supervisor (the “EDPS”) has released a report setting out its strategy for 2013 – 2014 and its work programme including its inventory which outlines in more detail, the key priorities for the EDPS in 2013.

The EDPS is an independent supervisory authority, with the objective of ensuring that the fundamental rights to protection of personal data are respected and upheld by European institutions and bodies at all levels.

The Inventory document sets out the EDPS’s approach to legislative consultation and details issues of key importance for the EDPS in 2013. Priorities include:

  • a new legal framework for data protection;
  • technological developments and the Digital Agenda;
  • developing the area of freedom, security and justice;
  • financial sector reform and e-Health.

The Strategy document compliments this by seeking to increase the EDPS’s role in policy-making and legislation, focussing efforts on areas of policy presenting the most risk so as to maximise data protection impact.

The Strategy builds on a review process that was commenced in 2011 and which sought the input of the various stakeholders in the area. Based on this input, the Strategy identifies five key objectives for 2013:

  • promote a data protection culture within the EU institutions and bodies;
  • ensure that the EU legislator is aware of data protection requirements throughout the legislative process;
  • improve co-operation with Data Protection Authorities and the Article 29 Working Party;
  • develop a creative and effective communication strategy and improve the use of human, financial, technical and organisational resources.

These strategic objectives are unsurprising and reflect on-going substantive changes within the EDPS in response to data protection developments, the passing of the Lisbon Treaty and its emphasis on fundamental rights, and the European Commission’s Digital Agenda.  Pending adoption of the Proposed Regulation, the EDPS strategy will remain an important part of the EU’s data protection framework in the coming two years.