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
20
September
2018
With enormous volumes of data generated every day, more and more decisions are based on data analysis and algorithms. This can bring welcome benefits, such as consistency and objectivity, but algorithms also entail great risks. A FRA focus paper looks at how the use of automation in decision making can result in, or exacerbate, discrimination.
14
September
2018
This Opinion by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) aims to inform the European Parliament’s position concerning the legislative proposal for a Regulation on strengthening the security of identity cards of European Union (EU) citizens and of residence documents issued to EU citizens and their family members exercising their right of free movement. It focuses on the processing of biometric data and complements the opinion published by the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS).
12
September
2018
In November 2017, the European Commission requested FRA’s support in evaluating the impact on fundamental rights of the European Border Surveillance System (Eurosur) Regulation. Further to this request, FRA reviewed the work of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) and analysed cooperation agreements concluded by EU Member States with third countries which are relevant for the exchange of information for the purposes of Eurosur. This report presents the main findings of such review.
10
September
2018
This Opinion aims to
inform the European Parliament’s position on the legislative proposal amending the
Visa Information System, the Visa Code and other related provisions of EU law. The
European Commission presented the proposal on 16 May 2018 and EU legislators are
currently discussing it.
6
June
2018
The year 2017 brought both progress and setbacks in terms of rights protection. The European Pillar of Social Rights marked an important move towards a more ‘social Europe’. But, as experiences with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights underscore, agreement on a text is merely a first step. Even in its eighth year as the EU's binding bill of rights, the Charter's potential was not fully exploited, highlighting the need to more actively promote its use.
6
June
2018
The year 2017 brought both progress and setbacks in terms of fundamental rights protection. FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2018 reviews major developments in the field, identifying both achievements and remaining areas of concern.
30
May
2018
We live in a world of big data, where technological developments in the area of machine learning and artificial intelligence have changed the way we live. Decisions and processes concerning everyday life are increasingly automated, based on data. This affects fundamental rights in various ways. This focus paper specifically deals with discrimination, a fundamental rights area particularly affected by technological developments.
25
May
2018
Latvian version now available
13 April 2022
The rapid development of information technology has exacerbated the need for robust personal data protection, the right to which is safeguarded by both European Union (EU) and Council of Europe (CoE) instruments. Safeguarding this important right entails new and significant challenges as technological advances expand the frontiers of areas such as surveillance, communication interception and data storage. This handbook is designed to familiarise legal practitioners not specialised in data protection with this emerging area of the law.
17
May
2018
Civil society organisations in the European Union play a crucial role in promoting fundamental
rights, but it has become harder for them do so – due to both legal and practical restrictions.
This summary outlines the main
findings and FRA’s opinions on the different
types and patterns of challenges faced by civil society
organisations across the EU,
9
May
2018
With terrorism, cyber-attacks and sophisticated cross-border criminal networks posing growing threats, the work of intelligence services has become more urgent, complex and international. Such work can strongly interfere with fundamental rights, especially privacy and data protection. While continuous technological advances potentially exacerbate the threat of such interference, effective oversight and remedies can curb the potential for abuse.
This video blog by FRA Director Michael O'Flaherty is released periodically and will address burning fundamental rights themes.
19
April
2018
This Opinion by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) aims to inform the European Parliament position concerning legislative proposals on interoperability between EU information technology systems (IT systems) presented on 12 December 2017 and currently discussed by the EU legislators.
28
March
2018
This report outlines the fundamental rights implications of collecting, storing and using
biometric and other data in EU IT systems in the area of asylum and migration.
Mario Oetheimer presented FRA’s second surveillance report to the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) Committee on 21 November in Brussels.
This is the recording of the online press briefing about mass surveillance as presented by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) on 16 October 2017.
This second volume, ‘Surveillance by intelligence services: fundamental rights safeguards and remedies in the EU’, explores legal changes since the first volume in 2015 and how these laws are applied in practice. It is based on data from all EU Member States on the legal framework governing surveillance and complemented by field research in seven Member States: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK. This involved more than 70 interviews with a range of stakeholders related to surveillance. These included overseers and controllers from the executive, indedepent expert bodies, parliamentary committees, the judiciary and actors from the civil society. These quotes are contained in the report. Below are a selection of some of them:
23
October
2017
This report is FRA’s second publication addressing a European Parliament request for in-depth research on the impact of surveillance on fundamental rights. It updates FRA’s 2015 legal analysis on the topic, and supplements that analysis with field-based insights gained from extensive interviews with diverse experts in intelligence and related fields, including its oversight.
13
July
2017
In 2006 the EU issued its Data Retention Directive. According to the Directive, EU Member States had to store electronic telecommunications data for at least six months and at most 24 months for investigating, detecting and prosecuting serious crime. In 2016, with an EU legal framework on data retention still lacking, the CJEU further clarified what safeguards are required for data retention to be lawful.This paper looks at amendments to national data retention laws in 2016 after the Digital Rights Ireland judgment.
11
July
2017
The European Parliament requested this FRA Opinion on the fundamental rights and personal data protection implications of the proposed Regulation for the creation of a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), including an assessment of the fundamental rights aspects of the access
by law enforcement authorities and Europol.
The 2018 edition of the Handbook on European data protection law is now also available online in Croatian.
On 26 May, FRA presented key fundamental rights considerations emerging from the second edition of its COVID-19 Bulletin during a webinar on privacy and using technology to control the pandemic.
Many governments are looking to technology to help monitor and track the spread of COVID-19, as a new Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) report shows. Governments’ using technology to protect public health and overcome the pandemic need to respect everyone’s fundamental rights.
FRA took part in an online workshop on addressing data governance and privacy challenges in the fight against COVID-19.
Government measures to combat COVID-19 have profound implications for everybody’s fundamental rights, including the right to life and to health, as mapped by a new Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) report. Government responses to stop the virus particularly affect the rights of already vulnerable or at-risk people, such as the elderly, children, people with disabilities, Roma or refugees. Respecting human rights and protecting public health is in everyone’s best interest – they have to go hand-in-hand.
The pace of change is relentless. Technological advances continue to have an ever-greater impact on our daily lives. European Data Protection Day on 28 January is a chance to remember the growing need for robust personal data safeguards to ensure we all benefit from greater digitalisation.
This year FRA looks forward to a new decade for fundamental human rights across Europe, as the new European Parliament and Commission hit the ground running with a raft of new strategies promoting and protecting rights.
“Migration will not go away – it will stay with us,” says European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. On International Migrants Day on 18 December, FRA joins the Commission in its call to find solutions that are humane and effective.
The handbook on European data protection law is designed to familiarise legal practitioners not specialised in data protection with this emerging area of the law.
FRA presented its paper on facial recognition technology to the Council Working Party on information exchange and data protection (DAPIX) on 5 December in Brussels.
The guide of preventing unlawful profiling today and in the future 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 handbook on European data protection law is designed to familiarise legal practitioners not specialised in data protection with this emerging area of the law.
FRA joined the Council of Europe’s Octopus Conference on cybercrime in Strasbourg from 10 to 22 November.
Private companies and public authorities worldwide increasingly use facial recognition technology. Several EU Member States are now considering, testing or planning to use it for law enforcement purposes as well. While this technology potentially supports fighting terrorism and solving crimes, it also affects people’s fundamental rights. A new Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) paper looks at the fundamental rights implications of relying on live facial recognition technology, focusing on its use for law enforcement and border management purposes.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) invited several EU agencies to discuss results of their project on possible uses of artificial intelligence by EU agencies.
On 14 November, FRA took part in the 3rd Digitising European Industry Stakeholder Forum, organised by the European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel and the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism.
The 2018 edition of the handbook on European data protection law is designed to familiarise legal practitioners not specialised in data protection with this emerging area of law.
On 16 October in Tallinn, FRA joined a panel debate on the effects of digitalisation on data analytics and the use of artificial intelligence in area of justice and home affairs during eu-LISA’s annual conference.
On 23 October, FRA joined the Equinet Annual General Meeting.
FRA took part in the fourth and last meeting of the Council of Europe’s expert meeting on the human rights dimensions of automated data processing and artificial intelligence in Strasbourg on 23 and 24 September.
-
FRA will take part in the first meeting of European Network of Equality Bodies’ Working Group on Research and Data Collection.
-
FRA will take part in the first meeting of the Council of Europe Ad-hoc Committee on Artificial Intelligence (CAHAI).
-
FRA will take part in a stakeholder dialogue on encryption in criminal investigations.
-
The FRA Director will join this year’s Web Summit where some 70,000 people are expected to attend.
On 23 October in Berlin, the FRA Director, Michael O’Flaherty, will participate in the closing ceremony of the Data Ethics Commission.
-
FRA will participate in the 41st International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners.
FRA, in cooperation with the European Network of Equality Bodies (Equinet), will host a capacity-building workshop on unlawful profiling on 9 October in Nicosia.
-
FRA will join a meeting of the Spanish international legal cooperation network from 7 to 8 October in Toledo.
-
FRA will join the 7th Europol-INTERPOL cybercrime conference on law enforcement in the connected future.
-
Facial recognition technology has developed considerably over the past years resulting in a lot of discussion.
-
FRA will join discussions in Berlin from 17 to 18 September on setting the conditions for a possible EU framework for governing Artificial Intelligence.
FRA will join discussions at the informal meeting of the Council Working Party on Fundamental Rights, Citizens' Rights and Free Movement of Persons (FREMP) on 11 September in Helsinki.
FRA has been invited to a hearing of the Equality and Non-Discrimination Committee of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly.
FRA will present its focus paper on data quality and artificial intelligence to the Council Working Party on Information Exchange and Data Protection (DAPIX) on 3 September in Brussels.
Every year in July, the Institute for European Studies, the Diplomatische Akademie Wien – Vienna School of International Studies and the University of Vienna organise their joint inter-university summer school on EU policy making.
FRA will deliver a keynote speech during a University College Dublin Workshop on Implementing Machine Ethics.
FRA will chair a session on Big Data legal questions during a conference on human rights challenges in the digital age.
-
FRA will give a presentation on EU data protection law and fundamental rights during the Council of Europe’s Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals (HELP) course on data protection.
On 19 June, FRA will take part in the plenary session of the European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG) 2019, which will take place at the World Forum The Hague.
-
FRA will have an active role in this year’s RightsCon, which is one of the world’s largest summits on human rights in the digital age.