Data

Data protection, privacy and new technologies

More of our everyday lives are online — both at work and home. Meanwhile, terror attacks intensify calls for more surveillance. Concerns grow over the safety of our privacy and personal data.

FRA helps lawmakers and practitioners protect your rights in a connected world.

Highlights

Products
29
July
2020
As we enter the second half of 2020, the constraints on our daily lives brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic have become a firm reality. New local lockdowns and the reintroduction of restrictive measures prompted by fresh outbreaks of the virus are a stark reminder that COVID-19 continues to shape our lives – and our enjoyment of fundamental rights – in profound ways. There is compelling evidence of how the pandemic has exacerbated existing challenges in our societies. This FRA Bulletin outlines some of the measures EU Member States adopted to safely reopen their societies and economies while continuing to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. It highlights the impact these measures may have on civil, political and socioeconomic rights.
22
July
2020
This paper presents people’s concerns and experiences relating to security. It covers worry about crime, including terrorism and online fraud; experience of online fraud; experience of cyberharassment; and concern about illegal access to data.
What are the next steps in the digitalisation of justice and of access to justice? This impulse video statement by FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty was recorded for the online conference “Access to Justice in the Digital Age”. The conference takes place on 16 July and is organised by the German Federal Ministry for Justice and Consumer Protection during the German Council Presidency.
18
June
2020
This document presents data from the FRA Fundamental Rights Survey. It includes data on opinions and experiences of people in the European Union (EU) linked to data protection and technology.
11
June
2020
Now available in Macedonian and Serbian
13 November 2020
The year 2019 brought both progress and setbacks in terms of fundamental rights protection. FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2020 reviews major developments in the field, identifying both achievements and remaining areas of concern. This publication presents FRA’s opinions on the main developments in the thematic areas covered, and a synopsis of the evidence supporting these opinions. In so doing, it provides a compact but informative overview of the main fundamental rights challenges confronting the EU and its Member States.
11
June
2020
FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2020 reviews major developments in the field in 2019, identifying both achievements and areas of concern. It also presents FRA’s opinions on these developments, including a synopsis of the evidence supporting these opinions. This year’s focus chapter explores how to unlock the full potential of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
28
May
2020
The Coronavirus pandemic continues to interrupt everyday life in the EU in unprecedented ways. But the way it affects our societies is shifting. As governments gradually lift some of the measures put in place to contain the spread of COVID-19, new fundamental rights concerns arise: how to ensure that the rights to life and health are upheld as daily life transitions to a ‘new normal’. This Bulletin looks at declarations of states of emergency, or equivalent, and how they came under scrutiny. It considers the impact on fundamental rights in important areas of daily life, and includes a thematic focus on the processing of users’ data to help contain COVID-19, particularly by contact-tracing apps. It covers the period 21 March – 30 April 2020.
In this vlog Michael O'Flaherty outlines fundamental rights considerations when developing technological responses to public health, as he introduces the focus of FRA's next COVID-19 bulletin.
8
April
2020
The outbreak of COVID-19 affects people’s daily life in the 27 EU Member States. As the number of infected people in the EU territory began to mount rapidly in February and March, governments put in place a raft of measures – often introduced in a period of only a few days – in an effort to contain the spread of the virus. Many of these measures reflect how, in exceptional emergency situations, the urgent need to save lives justifies restrictions on other rights, such as the freedom of movement and of assembly. This report outlines some of the measures EU Member States have put in place to protect public health during the COVID-19 pandemic. It covers the period 1 February – 20 March 2020.
Michael O'Flaherty talks in his vlog about the human rights aspects in the context of the Coronavirus epidemic and introduces FRA's new report.
In the latest edition of his video blog, FRA Director Michael O'Flaherty speaks about the importance and power of hope accompanying the work of FRA in 2020. Particularly after a troubled start of the year.
In the latest edition of his video blog, FRA Director Michael O'Flaherty speaks about the human rights challenges, but also the opportunities, that come along with the development of artificial intelligence technology.
27
November
2019
French and German versions now available
01 March 2022
Facial recognition technology (FRT) makes it possible to compare digital facial images to determine whether they are of the same person. Comparing footage obtained from video cameras (CCTV) with images in databases is referred to as ‘live facial recognition technology’. Examples of national law enforcement authorities in the EU using such technology are sparse – but several are testing its potential. This paper therefore looks at the fundamental rights implications of relying on live FRT, focusing on its use for law enforcement and border-management purposes.
As part of the background research for the Agency’s project on ‘Artificial intelligence (AI), Big Data and Fundamental Rights’, FRA has collected information on AI-related policy initiatives in EU Member States and beyond in the period 2016-2020. The collection currently includes about 350 initiatives.
Fundamental Rights Report 2019: 2018 was a landmark year for data protection. New EU rules took effect and complaints of breaches increased significantly.
12
June
2019
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has applied across the European Union (EU) since 25 May 2018. One year on, this paper looks at how the new regulation has affected the daily work of civil society organisations (CSOs).
11
June
2019
Algorithms used in machine learning systems and artificial intelligence (AI) can only be as good as the data used for their development. High quality data are essential for high quality algorithms. Yet, the call for high quality data in discussions around AI often remains without any further specifications and guidance as to what this actually means.
6
June
2019
How much progress can we expect in a decade? Various rights-related instruments had been in place for 10 years in 2018, prompting both sobering and encouraging reflection on this question.
6
June
2019
The year 2018 brought both progress and setbacks in terms of fundamental rights protection. FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2019 reviews major developments in the field, identifying both achievements and remaining areas of concern. This publication presents FRA’s opinions on the main developments in the thematic areas covered, and a synopsis of the evidence supporting these
opinions.
5
December
2018
Last versions available are EL and NL
11 March 2021
This guide explains what profiling is, the legal frameworks that regulate it, and why conducting profiling lawfully is both necessary to comply with fundamental rights and crucial for effective policing and border management. The guide also provides practical guidance on how to avoid unlawful profiling in police and border management operations.
On 30 April, FRA took part in Equinet’s webinar on artificial intelligence. It introduced the context of its research on fundamental rights and AI, its findings with regards to specific fundamental rights (data protection, non-discrimination, and access to remedies), and its key recommendations.
During the first of a series of seminars on AI and law, FRA presented its research findings on the fundamental rights implications of using Artificial Intelligence.
On 24 March, FRA took part in a webinar organised by the European Network of Ombudsmen on AI and e-government in public administrations.
FRA outlined fundamental rights safeguards in the Entry-Exit system during a training course on 2 and 3 February. FRA rose awareness on the potential risks for fundamental rights, that can emerge if safeguards are not duly implemented, drawing on its relevant work.
FRA presented the main findings from its facial recognition technology paper during an event organised by the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations (INCLO). The network brings together 15 independent, national human rights NGOs from different countries.
Our personal data shape the ads we see. They help governments trace the spread of COVID-19. But as technology advances, so should data protection safeguards. For this year’s Data Protection Day, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) highlights data protection challenges to ensure our rights are upheld.
From tracking the spread of COVID-19 to deciding who will receive social benefits, artificial intelligence (AI) affects the lives of millions of Europeans. Automation can improve decision-making. But AI can lead to mistakes, discrimination and be hard to challenge. A new EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) report reveals confusion about the impact of AI on people’s rights. This even among organisations already using it. FRA calls on policymakers to provide more guidance on how existing rules apply to AI and ensure any future AI laws protect fundamental rights.
FRA’s Director joined the 7th Glion Human Rights Dialogue 2020 on 3 and 4 December. The high-level online event brought together over 100 human rights practitioners and experts.
FRA took part in a meeting of the Public Interest Litigation Project on 17 November.
The Estonian version of Handbook on European data protection law - 2018 edition is the latest language version of this popular handbook.
On 30 October, FRA presented the fundamental rights implications of processing data in large-scale IT systems.
FRA joined a debate on the legal control of algorithms.
The European Commission held the second assembly of the AI Alliance on 9 October. It featured EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton, representatives of the German Presidency of the European Council, as well as other high-level participants.
FRA presented main findings from its ‘Facial recognition technology paper during an EFUS webinar.
FRA joined a panel discussion on 14 September on the collection and sharing of information and new technologies in counter-terrorism.
FRA Director Michael O'Flaherty gave a keynote speech in Salzburg on 28 August on fundamental rights during the COVID 19 pandemic.
Living with COVID-19 continues to constrain our daily lives, as a new Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) report shows. Moving forward, governments need to ensure existing fundamental rights challenges do not worsen and vulnerable members of society do not suffer disproportionately.
FRA took part in a virtual expert seminar on 23 July on the role of data protection authorities in the context of COVID-19 exit strategies and contact tracing apps.
Most Europeans are worried about their data and bank details being misused by criminals and fraudsters. Two in five Europeans have been harassed face-to-face and every fifth is very worried of experiencing a terrorist attack. These findings come from the Fundamental Rights Survey, carried out by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) in the European Union, North Macedonia and the United Kingdom in 2019. The results feed into the European Commission’s Security Union Strategy.
As EU countries continue rolling out new coronavirus contact-tracing apps, the data protection and privacy risks remain high on the agenda. Amid these developments, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) renew their cooperation agreement today to further strengthen data protection across the EU. Both FRA and EDPS argue that respect for fundamental rights, including privacy and data protection, has to be centre stage to make tracing apps, or any other technology, a success.
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This year, FRA again teams up with the This human world international human rights film festival.
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FRA will take part in this year’s Internet Governance Forum (IGF), which runs virtually from 2-17 November. It will join the session on the role of the private sector in developing guidelines on the use of artificial intelligence.
How can we balance the importance of promoting technological, economic and social innovation with the need to protect individuals and society from its potentially harmful effects? This is one of the areas that will be explored during a high-level virtual event on 14 December on doing artificial intelligence the European way.
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FRA will take part in the annual closed session of the Global Privacy Assembly (GPA) as an observer.
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FRA will discuss the fundamental rights considerations of using Artificial intelligence during a meeting of the European Commission’s Digital Criminal Justice Expert Group.
Artificial intelligence and encryption will feature during a virtual meeting of the Council of the EU’s Standing Committee on Operational Cooperation on Internal Security (COSI).
Remote biometric identification systems, such as facial recognition, are regularly identified as a candidate for regulation.
The annual summer school on EU policy making organised by the Institute for European Studies (IES) and the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna is this year organised online.
The agency’s Scientific Committee meeting will be held on 24 April via video conference.
FRA, in cooperation with its Hungarian National Liaison Officer, will launch the Hungarian translation of its handbook on European data protection law.
How should the EU approach to artificial intelligence and facial recognition?
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The rule of law will feature at this year’s European Police Congress where the FRA Director will speak.
FRA will deliver a speech on 28 January in Brussels on artificial intelligence, Big Data and fundamental rights.
The Council of the EU’s law enforcement working group will meet on 21 January.
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From 22 to 24 January, the annual Computers, Privacy and Data Protection conference takes place in Brussels.
FRA will discuss and present its work on artificial intelligence during a conference in Zagreb on 16 January.
FRA will present findings on facial recognition technology from its recent paper on fundamental rights considerations in the context of law enforcement.
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The next Internet Governance Forum (IGF) takes place in Berlin from 25 to 29 November.
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FRA will take part in the plenary meeting of the Council of Europe’s Convention 108 Committee.