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A further step towards comprehensive EU data protection

The reform of the EU data protection rules is more urgent than ever, said the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), following the publication today of his Opinion on the proposed Directive for data protection in the police and justice sectors.

The EDPS recalls that data protection in the police and justice sectors should be fully consistent with the general rules contained in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and should only contain specifications and adjustments where necessary in view of the specific nature of these sectors. The scope of the Directive should be limited to the areas where specific rules are really necessary, namely the activities of criminal law enforcement by police and judicial authorities, as was the case in the original proposal of the Commission. Moreover, the performance of law enforcement tasks by non-public entities and organisations should be subject to the GDPR.

The EDPS calls on the legislators to ensure that none of the provisions of the Directive decrease the level of protection that is currently offered by EU law and by the instruments of the Council of Europe. The essential components of data protection, laid down in Article 8 of the Charter of the Fundamental Rights of the Union, must be respected and exceptions must remain limited and fulfil the strict test of proportionality, as recently specified in rulings by the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU). This must be ensured particularly as regards the principle of purpose limitation, the right to access of individuals to their personal data and control by independent data protection authorities.

Careful attention should be given to the modalities for international transfers of personal data to bring them in line with the recent CJEU ruling in the Schrems case. This ruling will have an impact on new legal instruments and agreements to be concluded by the EU with non-EU countries in the field of law enforcement (including, for instance, the EU-US Umbrella Agreement) so that they pass the strict test established by the Court. Where necessary, existing agreements concluded by the EU and/or Member States involving the transfer of personal data should be amended within a fixed time limit, to bring them in line with the new Directive.

The EDPS will release an update of his EU Data Protection app in the coming weeks, including specific recommendations from the EDPS on the proposed Directive. 

Click here for full press release


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