On November 27, the European Parliament confirmed that Giovanni Buttarelli will serve as the next European Data Protection Supervisor (“EDPS”). Buttarelli will take over for Peter Hustinx, who served as EDPS for 10 years. Prior to his appointment, Buttarelli was the Assistant EDPS, a position which will now be held by Wojciech Rafal Wiewiórowski.

Buttarelli’s privacy experience dates back to 1996, when he chaired the European Union Council Working Group, which drafted Directive 97/66/EC concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the telecommunications sector. In 1997, he became the Secretary General to the Italian Data Protection Authority, and helped draft and implement the first Italian Data Protection Act.

The EDPS oversees data protection in all EU institutions and advises on policies and proposed EU legislation that affect data protection. As EDPS, Buttarelli faces tough challenges in a dynamic EU-privacy landscape that is currently grappling with data protection reform. While Buttarelli recognizes the obstacles inherent in data protection reform, he said he believes there is “a window of opportunity to have modern rules harmonizing member states’ provisions [that are] relevant for the rest of the world.”