Data protection & privacy

Safeguarding the security of its citizens whilst guaranteeing fundamental rights is a key issue for the EU. As an EU agency, data protection and privacy are important thematic areas of FRA’s work.

FRA helps the EU to find the right balance between security and fundamental rights. It does this by examining data protection measures for their compliance with other fundamental rights, such as non-discrimination. Through its socio-legal approach to data collection, the agency carries out research that encompasses both fieldwork and legal analysis of data protection and related fundamental rights issues. The results of our research serve to inform both policy makers and practitioners working on these issues.

Historically, the EU has played a crucial role in driving the development and introduction of national data protection law in a number of legal systems in which such legislation was not previously in place. A 1995 EU directive on the protection of individuals regarding the processing of personal data and the free movement of such data was a vital instrument in this respect. More recently, the Commission introduced proposals in 2012 for the most far-reaching reform of data protection legislation in the EU since 1995.

Data protection is a fundamental right enshrined in Article 8 of the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, which is distinct from the respect for private and family life contained in Article 7. This feature sets the EU Charter apart from other major human rights documents which, for the most part, treat the protection of personal data as an extension of the right to privacy.

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FRA takes part in OSCE Human Dimension Committee Meeting

On 1 July, FRA took part in the OSCE Human Dimension Committee session devoted to the ‘Promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism’ at the invitation of the Norwegian Chairmanship of the OSCE Human Dimension Committee.

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Findings available

Handbook on European data protection case law

FRA will produce a handbook, in partnership with the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), which will present and explain European data protection law in a straightforward way for those working in this area.

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Fundamental rights: key legal and policy developments in 2013. Highlights 2013

Annual report
The EU and its Member States took a variety of important steps in 2013 to protect and promote fundamental rights by assuming new international commitments, revamping legislation and pursuing innovative policies on the ground. Yet, fundamental rights violations seized the spotlight with distressing frequency: would‑be migrants drowning off the EU’s coast, unprecedented mass surveillance, racist and extremist‑motivated murders, child poverty and Roma deprivation.

Fundamental rights: challenges and achievements in 2013 - Annual report 2013

Annual report
This year’s FRA annual report looks at fundamental rights-related developments in asylum, immigration and integration; border control and visa policy; information society, respect for private life and data protection; the rights of the child and the protection of children; equality and non-discrimination; racism, xenophobia and related intolerance; access to justice and judicial cooperation; rights of crime victims; EU Member States and international obligations.

Handbook on European data protection law

This handbook is designed to familiarise legal practitioners who are not specialised in the field of data protection with this area of law. It provides an overview of the EU’s and the CoE’s applicable legal frameworks.