On 4 November 2010, the European Commission issued a Communication entitled "A comprehensive approach on personal data protection in the European Union". Following a review of the current EU data protection legislation and a public consultation, several issues were identified as being problematic and posing challenges to the current EU legislative framework. These issues include the need to address the impact of new technologies and the need to streamline international data transfers.

The Communication sets out the Commission's strategy for modernising the EU legislative framework to take account of these challenges. The key objectives of the strategy are to:

  • Strengthen individuals' rights;
  • Enhance the Single Market dimension and ensure a true level-playing field;
  • Revise data protection rules in the area of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters;
  • Ensure high levels of protection for data transferred outside the EU; and
  • Improve the enforcement of data protection rules.

The Commission will accept feedback, by 15 January 2011, on the issues raised in this Communication. It will then propose legislation in 2011 to revise the EU's 1995 Data Protection Directive. The Commission also intends to pursue non-legislative measures, such as encouraging self-regulation initiatives and awareness-raising campaigns on data protection rights.