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 would not only provide European citizens with the protection control they need in the information society , but could also very well set an international standard in personal data protection for users worldwide. For more information about the Data Protection Reform Package, read our updated Q&A.

On March 12th 2014 the European Parliament voted with a large majority for the adoption of their version of 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 2015.

Until recently, the Council has made very slow progess on this file which is putting the adoption of this reform package in serious jeopardy. Since late 2014, the Council is now moving forward in the conclusion of their position. Unfortunately, leaked documents show that the Council is working to strip Europe's citizens of a meaningful right to data protection.


Contact UsFor any questions, please contact our Brussels office at

Advocacy Tools Header

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.

Interview with Access: Wht we should care more about our privacy
An interview with Access' EU Policy Manager Raegan MacDonald on how privacy, big internet companies and governments influence our lives.

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Leaked documents show European data protection reform is badly broken
Three things you should know about the Google Spain case
EP adopts the Data Protection Reform Package
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

Legislative Text Header

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 Broken Badly - an Analysis, by Access, EDRi, Privacy International and Panotykon 
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
FAQ on Google's "right to be forgotten", by Access
Civil society response to Google Advisory Council, by 11 NGO's including Access

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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EU data protection reform "badly broken", civil liberty groups warnfrom PCworld
EU lawmaker warns of data protection rules delay till 2016from Euractiv
Power struggles delay EU data protection reformfrom DW
Data protection reform in peril as Germany stymies dealfrom Eurativ
EU data protection rules hit by surprise legal objectionfrom the Financial Times
EU lawmakers vote stricter data privacy rulesfrom Euractiv
Myth-busting: What Commission proposals on data protection do and don't meanfrom the European Commission
US Lobbying Against Draft Data Protection Regulationfrom EDRi