EDPS: EU institutions hold data protection in high regard

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The European Data Protection Supervisor conducted a survey with positive results on the EU institutions in how they treated the data of their employees. Peter Hustinx, the chief of the EDPS stated: “I’m delighted with the progress that the EU institutions have made. Ten years of our active supervision have resulted in significantly higher levels of compliance with data protection obligations across EU services. This is a powerful indication that institutions are recognizing that they are accountable for applying data protection rules”.

The survey comes at an interesting timing, for multiple reasons. First of all, the EU is currently updating its Data Protection Regulation, which stems from 1995, to more modern standards. Amidst the revelations of Edward Snowden, data protection has received considerable attention from the European citizens. A second reason is that the European Data Protection Supervisor is still looking for a new chef to replace Peter Hustinx. No progress has been made thus far, with the Commission rejecting all applications that it received for the position in January 2014.

According to the EU, privacy and data protection are fundamental rights, as they are protected by European law and enshrined in Article 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

Ecommerce Europe has advocated balanced rules on data protection, with no compromise on personal privacy. However, it argues that data protection rules should only apply to personal data and that this definition should be formulated proportionally. On the one hand, solid data protection rules foster trust in the digital economy, of which Ecommerce Europe is a stakeholder. On the other hand, too strict rules hamper the effective growth of the ecommerce industry, one of the few industries that is growing with double digit rates. In other words: the ecommerce industry is contributing to the restoration of the European economy and thereby is creating much needed jobs.

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