Data Protection Reform

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Data Protection Reform

Early in 2012, the European Commission released a proposal intended to update and modernise the current data protection framework, referred to as the Data Protection Reform Package, which includes a proposal for a General Data Protection Regulation. See Access' Position on the European Commission Proposal for a General Data Protection Regulation.

The Regulation is a welcomed proposal, particularly as it seeks to strengthen the rights of citizens by giving them greater control over their personal data and to oblige “data controllers” -- companies and public bodies -- to be more transparent and adopt privacy preserving practices, such as data protection by design. While we generally welcome the Commission’s proposal, there are some aspects that require further clarification and strengthening (more details here).

Access sees the Regulation as a landmark initiative that must result in the highest standard of protection, as the EU has consistently served as a standard-setter in this space. Many countries, specifically developing nations, in response to the rapid advancement of the information society, have passed their very first data protection frameworks, taking strong influence from the European Union.

The Regulation could very well become an international standard for the protection of personal data. Not only does it have the potential to provide European citizens with the protection and control they need in the information society, but also users around the world. For more information about the Data Protection Reform Package, read our updated Q&A.

UPDATE: After nearly two years of negotiations, the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) Committee in charge of the file in the European Parliament, voted on October 21th, 2013 adopting a package of compromise amendments, their version of the the Data Protection Regulation.

The text is now under review by the Council of the European Union which is expected to come to a conclusion before the end of summer 2014. However, recent meetings have shown that the Council is making very slow progress on this file and putting the adoption of this reform package in jeopardy.

Contact UsFor any questions, please contact our Brussels office at


Advocacy Tools Header

Don't let big business strip you of your right to privacy! Join

Access has joined a coalition of privacy groups from across Europe to form the Naked Citizens campaign to respond to the unprecedented lobbying from tech companies, the US government, and the online advertising industry, who are trying to weaken the Regulation and make it easier for companies to use personal information in opaque, unaccountable ways. To take action, go to Naked Citizens and send your representative a "naked postcard", or call them free of charge. Let your representatives know you're against big corporations' full-frontal assault on our personal data!

Join the campaign to protect your data! Visit:
The Regulation is currently under attack by large companies and other governments who seek to weaken your privacy rights. We need your help! On the European campaign portal on the data protection reform you will find more information about the Regulation, campaigning material (including memes!) and simple ways to contact your Member of the European Parliament (MEP).

Protect My Data: Everything you need to know about the data protection Regulation
This is a platform set up by for an easy navigation through the different articles and topics of the Data Protection Regulation. The information on this site is produced by EDRi's Brussels team and EDRi's Data Protection Working Group, of which our Brussels-based policy analyst, Raegan MacDonald, is a member.

Video: Defend your Privacy! Stop the Lobby War on New EU Privacy Law!
A short video showing how big business is watering down the Data Protection Regulation and a call for action to defend your privacy.

Video: “Why Privacy Matters” from Privacy International
Privacy International asked lawyers, activists, researchers and hackers at Defcon 2012 about some of the debates that thrive at the intersection between law, technology and privacy. They also asked why privacy matters to them, and what they thought the future of privacy looked like. This video is a result of those conversations.

TED Talk: Malte Spitz: You Phone Company is Watching
What kind of data is your cell phone company collecting? Malte Spitz wasn’t too worried when he asked his operator in Germany to share information stored about him. Multiple unanswered requests and a lawsuit later, Spitz received 35,830 lines of code -- a detailed, nearly minute-by-minute account of half a year of his life.

Video from the European Commission: Take Control of Your Personal Data
Every time you go online you share information about yourself. And the more you do online the more important it is that you and your personal data are protected.


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International Data Privacy Day: We remind the European Council of our rights
Human Rights Day: EU’s Data Protection Reform: restoring trust by reinforcing user rights
European Parliament vote on Privacy Regulation: major losses obscure other gains
Access joins coalition for EU #Nakedcitizens campaign
EU Parliament says no to EU-PNR system
With Google Glass, everyone can be Little Brother
What the Microsoft transparency report does -- and does not -- tell us about Skype
Microsoft releases report on law enforcement requests
Free Cookies:strings attached to browsing raise costs for users
European Parliament committee approves opinion hostile to user privacy
Privacy under siege: Unprecedented lobby efforts against the Regulation are revealed
Happy Data Privacy Day!
Government requests for data continues to grow, despite infrequent use of search warrants
Yahoo! bolsters privacy with global HTTPS support
Trending:Rise in 'Lawful Access' Requests pose challenge for user rights
Microsoft Opens New Windows into Your email by Quietly Changing Privacy Policy
The State of Play on the European Data Protection Reform Package
Big Data: A Big Problem for Human Rights?
Facing Off: The Future of Facial Recognition
EDPS: ACTA Could Threaten Privacy and Data Protection
Culture Clashing: Reconciling the Privacy divide in the US and the EU
The Privacy Platform Meeting: The Transatlantic Dimension of Data Protection
Facebook Comes under Fire for Facial Recognition Software
Data Retention Discussed at the Privacy Platform Meeting in the European Parliament


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Proposal for a General Data Protection Regulation, full text in EN, FR, DE, ES and PT
Proposal for a Data Protection Directive, full text in EN, FR, DE, ES, and PT
Proposal for a General Data Protection Regulation (text voted in the LIBE Committee of the European Parliament), full text available here in 23 languages.
Proposal for a Data Protection Directive (text voted in the LIBE Committee of the European Parliament), full text available here in 23 languages.


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From Civil Society:

Access and EDRi's mini series on the Data Protection Regulation:

1. Data Protection -- Why Care
2. International Implications of the Regulation
3. Lobbying against the Regulation

Data Protection Day Letter to the Council of the E.U., by Access
Updated Q&A on Privacy Reform in Europe, by Access
Privacy Reform in Europe Q&A, by Access

An Introduction to Data Protection, by EDRi (with contributions from Digitale Gesellschaft, Privacy International, Foundation for information and policy research, Bits of Freedom and Access)
Super Brief Guide to the Data Protection Regulation, by EDRi
A loophole in data processing: why the "legitimate interests" test fails to protect the interests of users and the Regulation needs to be amended", by Bits of Freedom

From the European Commission:
European Commission Factsheet: How does data protection reform strengthen citizens' rights?
European Commission impact assessment on the proposal for a General Data Protection Regulation and accompanying Directive

From the EU Data Protection Watchdogs:
Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) on the Data Protection Reform Package
Opinion of the Article 29 Working Party on the data protection reform discussions: here and here.


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Data protection reform in peril as Germany stymies deal
EU data protection rules hit by surprise legal objection
EU lawmakers vote stricter data privacy rules
Myth-busting: What Commission proposals on data protection do and don't mean
Speech - Competition and personal data protection, Commissioner Joaquín Almunia
US Lobbying Against Draft Data Protection Regulation