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

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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.
7
July
2017
Various proposals on EU-level information systems in the areas of borders and security mention interoperability, aiming to provide fast and easy access to information about third-country nationals.
30
May
2017
Diverse efforts at both EU and national levels sought to bolster fundamental rights protection in 2016, while some measures threatened to undermine such protection.
30
May
2017
Diverse efforts at both EU and national levels sought to bolster fundamental rights protection in 2016, while some measures threatened to undermine such protection.
29
May
2017
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights. Such a milestone offers an opportunity for reflection – both on the progress that provides cause for celebration and on the lingering shortcomings that must be addressed.
The Agency’s Director, Michael O’Flaherty, took part in a meeting of the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) on 9 February.
25
January
2017
The European Parliament asked the Agency to provide its Opinion on the fundamental rights impact of the proposed revision of the Eurodac Regulation on children.
5
December
2016
EU Member States are increasingly involved in border management activities on the high seas, within – or i cooperation with – third countries, and at the EU’s borders. Such activities entail risks of violating the principle of non-refoulement, the cornerstone of the international legal regime for the protection of refugees, which prohibits returning individuals to a risk of persecution. This report aims to encourage fundamental-rights compliant approaches to border management, including by highlighting potential grey areas.
5
December
2016
EU Member States are increasingly involved in border management activities on the high seas, within – or in cooperation with – third countries, and at the EU’s borders. Such activities entail risks of violating the principle of non-refoulement, the cornerstone of the international legal regime for the protection of refugees, which prohibits returning individuals to a risk of persecution. This guidance outlines specific suggestions on how to reduce the risk of refoulement in these situations – a practical tool developed with the input of experts during a meeting held in Vienna in March of 2016.
30
May
2016
The European Union (EU) and its Member States introduced and pursued numerous initiatives to safeguard and strengthen
fundamental rights in 2015. Some of these efforts produced important progress; others fell short of their aims. Meanwhile,
various global developments brought new – and exacerbated existing – challenges.
30
May
2016
The European Union (EU) and its Member States introduced and pursued
numerous initiatives to safeguard and strengthen fundamental rights in 2015.
FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2016 summarises and analyses major
developments in the fundamental rights field, noting both progress made
and persisting obstacles. 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.
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.
As governments discuss using technology to stop the spread of COVID-19, many Europeans are unwilling to share data about themselves with public and private bodies. These findings emerged from a EU Agency’s Fundamental Rights survey, carried out before the pandemic.
Growing intolerance and attacks on people’s fundamental rights continue to erode the considerable progress achieved over the years, finds FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2020. As Europe begins to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic we see a worsening of existing inequalities and threats to societal cohesion.
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.
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FRA will join the 7th Europol-INTERPOL cybercrime conference on law enforcement in the connected future.
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Facial recognition technology has developed considerably over the past years resulting in a lot of discussion.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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The Police and Human Rights Programme of the Dutch section of Amnesty International will hold an expert meeting on predictive policing from 20 to 21 May in Amsterdam.
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The agency will host, in cooperation with the Council of Europe, the second expert meeting on cybercrime and fundamental rights from 14 to 15 May.
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During the Romanian Presidency’s e-justice conference, the agency will speak on the panel on the use of Artificial Intelligence technologies in the field of justice.
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This year’s conference of European Data Protection Authorities will be held in Tbilisi from 9 to 10 May.
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The agency will take part in a seminar on electronic evidence organised by the Spanish General Council of the Judiciary in Madrid from 6 to 8 May.