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EU Privacy Law

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EU privacy law is concerned with the protection and preservation of the privacy rights of its citizens.

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Contents

Overview

European Union (EU) privacy laws follow a comprehensive approach, meaning the laws cover both public and private sectors.

Information Privacy Principles

The EU follows the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) Guidelines on the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data[1]. These guidelines are based on fair information practices.The OECD information privacy principles[2] include:

  • Principle 1: Collection Limitation
  • Principle 2: Data Quality
  • Principle 3: Purpose Specification
  • Principle 4: Use Limitation
  • Principle 5: Security Safeguards
  • Principle 6: Openness
  • Principle 7: Individual Participation
  • Principle 8: Accountability

Cross-Border Data Transfer

  • U.S. - EU Safe Harbor Framework[3]

Under the EU Data Protection Directive (95/46/EC), EU member states cannot transfer data to those countries that do not meet "adequate" data protection requirements.  The U.S. is one of these countries that does not meet this requirement.  In order to get around this requirement, the U.S. Department of Commerce with the European Commission developed a Safe Harbor framework.  The Safe Harbor Framework principles require U.S. organizations to offer specific rights to their European data subjects.  These rights include being informed about the purpose of the data collection; ability to access, change or delete inaccurate information; and, ability to opt-out of third-party disclosure or used for purposes other than the original collection purpose.  These requirements are based on fair information practices. Those U.S. organizations following Safe Harbor Framework must self-certify annually with the Department of Commerce.

  • Binding Corporate Rules (BCRs)[4]

Binding corporate rules (BCRs) are a legal tool that can be used by multinational companies to ensure an adequate level of protection for the intra-group transfers of personal data from a country in the EU to a third country.  The use of BCRs requires the approval of each of the EU data protection authorities from whose country the data are to be transferred.[5]

The European Commission Article 29 Working Party[6] has developed several documents to help guide companies who want to use Binding Corporate Rules.

  • WP 107: Working Document Setting Forth a Co-Operation Procedure for Issuing Common Opinions on Adequate Safeguards Resulting From “Binding Corporate Rules”[7]
  • WP 108: Working Document Establishing a Model Checklist Application for Approval of Binding Corporate Rules[8]
  • WP 133: Recommendation 1/2007 on the Standard Application for Approval of Binding Corporate Rules for the Transfer of Personal Data[9]
  • WP 153: Working Document setting a table with the elements and principles to be found in Binding Corporate Rules[10]
  • WP 154: Working Document Setting up a framework for the structure of Binding Corporate Rules[11]
  • WP 155: Working Document on Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to Binding Corporate Rules[12]

Those companies that wish to participate in BCRs must follow the documentation above and gain approval from the data protection commissioner of each country they are established.

  • Model Contracts for the Transfer of Personal Data to Third Countries[13]

The European Commission[14] has developed a set of standard contractual clauses to be used between EU member counties and third countries without an adequate level of data protection.  These model contract clauses would develop a binding contract between the EU member states and the third country that would provide a guarentee that adequate safeguards with respect to the protection of the privacy and fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals would be in place.

A new Decision by the European Commission on standard contractual clauses for the transfer of personal data to processors established in third countries under Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council was published May 2, 2010.[15]

European Union

  • Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, Article 8[16]

Article 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Right of the European Union recognises the fundamental right to the protection of personal data.

  • EU Data Protection Directive (95/46/EC)[17]

EU Directive 95/46/EC focuses on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data. An overarching data protection legislation was developed in order to remove potential obstacles to the flows of personal data between EU countries.  The EU Directive 95/46/EC serves as a guideline of minimum requirements EU member countries must have in their required data protection laws.

  • EU ePrivacy Directive (2002/58/EC)[18]

The EU ePrivacy Directive 2002/58/EC deals with the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector

  • EU Directive 2006/24/EC[19]

EU Directive 2006/24/EC makes amendments to the Directive 2002/58/EC.  The Directive focuses on the retention of data generated or processed in connection with the provision of publicly available electronic communications services or of public communications networks.

  • Directive 97/66/EC[20]

The EU Directive 97/66/EC is concerned with the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the telecommunications sector.

  • Regulation (EC) 45/2001[21]

Regulation 45/2001 deals with the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Community institutions and bodies and on the free movement of such data.

Oversight: EU Commission[22]

Austria[23]

  • Federal Act concerning Protection of Personal Data (1999)[24]
  • Federal Fundamental Act on the Duty to Grant Information (1987)[25]

Oversight: Data Protection Commission[26]

Belgium[27]

  • Constitution, Articles 22 & 29[28]
  • Act on the protection of privacy in relation to the processing of personal data (Privacy Act or Data Protection Act)(1992)[29]
  • Royal Decree implementing the Act of 1992 on the protection of privacy in relation to the processing of personal data (2001)[30]
  • Law relating to classification and to authorizations of security (1998)[31]

Oversight: Commission for the Protection of Privacy[32]

Bulgaria[33]

  • Constitution, Articles 32, 33, 34 & 41
  • Personal Data Protection Act (2002)[34]
  • Access to Public Information Act (2000)[35]
  • Law for the Protection of Classified Information (2002)[36]

Oversight: Commission for Personal Data Protection[37]

Cyprus

  • The Processing of Personal Data (Protection of the Individual) Law 138 (I) (2001)[38]
  • The Processing of Personal Data (Protection of Individuals) (Amendment) Law (2003)[39]
  • The Regulation of Electronic Communications and Postal Services Law (112(I)/2004 - Section 106) (2004)[40]

Oversight: Office of the Commissioner for Personal Data Protection[41]

Czech Republic[42]

  • Charter of Fundamental Rights & Freedoms, Articles 7, 10 & 13
  • Personal Data Protection Act (2000)[43]
  • Law on Free Access to Information (1999)[44]

Oversight: Office for Personal Data Protection[45]

Denmark[46]

  • Constitutional Act (1953), Section 71[47] & 72[48]
  • Act on Processing of Personal Data (2000)[49]
  • Public Administration Act (1985)[50]
  • Access to Public Administration Files Act (1985)[51]
  • Act on the re-use of public sector information (2005)[52]
  • Act on Processing of Personal Data (2000)[53]

Oversight: The Danish Data Protection Agency[54]

Estonia[55]

  • Constitution, Sections  42, 43 & 44[56]
  • Personal Data Protection Act (1996)[57]
  • Public Information Act (2000)[58]
  • Information Society Services Act (2004)[59]
  • Databases Act (1997)[60]
  • State Secrets Act (1999)[61]

Oversight: The Data Protection Inspectorate[62]

Finland[63]

  • Constitution, Sections 10 & 12[64]
  • Personal Data Act (1999)[65]
  • Act on the Amendment of the Personal Data Act (2000)[66]
  • Act on Openness of Government Activities (1999)[67]
  • Archives Act (1994)[68]
  • Act on the Protection of Privacy in Working Life (2004)[69]
  • Act on the Protection of Privacy in Electronic Communications (2004)[70]
  • Consumer Protection Act (1978)[71]

Oversight: The Office of the Data Protection Ombudsman[72]

France[73]

  • Penal Code[74]
  • Act n°78-17 on Data Processing, Data Files and Individual Liberties (1978)[75]
  • Decree of Application n° 2005-1309 enacted for the application of Act No 78-17 of 1978 on Data Processing, Files and Individual Liberties(2005)[76]
  • Act No. 78-753 on various measures for improved relations between the Civil Service and the public and on various arrangements of administrative, social and fiscal nature (1978)[77]

Oversight: Commission Nationale de L’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL)[78]

Germany[79]

  • Constitution, Article 10
  • Freedom of Information Act (2006)[80]
  • Federal Data Protection Act (2006)[81]
  • Stasi Records Act (1991)[82]
  • Telecommunications Act (2004)[83]

Oversight: Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information[84] (Virtual Privacy Office[85])

Oversight: State/Provincial Data Protection Authorities:

  • Baden-Württemberg
  • Bayern
  • Berlin
  • Brandenburg: Brandenburg State Commissioner for Data Protection and Access to Information[86]
  • Bremen
  • Hamburg
  • Hessen
  • Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
  • Niedersachsen
  • Nordrhein-Westfalen
  • Rheinland-Pfalz
  • Saarland
  • Sachsen
  • Sachsen-Anhalt
  • Schleswig-Holstein
  • Thüringen
  • Thüringer

Greece[87]

  • Constitution, Articles 9, 9A & 19[88]
  • Administrative Procedure Code (1999)[89]
  • Law 2472/1997 on the Protection of Individuals with regard to the Processing of Personal Data (1997)[90]
  • Law 3471/2006 on the Protection of Personal Data and Privacy in the Electronic Telecommunications Sector and Amendment of Law 2472/1997 (2006)[91]
  • Telecoms Data Protection Act (Law No.2774/1999)

Oversight: Hellenic Data Protection Authority (HDPA)[92]

HDPA Decisions[93]

Hungary[94]

  • Constitution, Article 59
  • Act XC on the Freedom of Information by Electronic Means (2005)[95]
  • Act LXVI on Public Records, Public Archives, and the Protection of Private Archives (1995)[96]
  • Act LXIII on the Protection of Personal Data and the Publicity of Data of Public Interest (1992)[97]
  • Act CXIX of 1995 on the Use of Name and Address Information Serving the Purposes of Research and Direct Marketing[98]
  • Act CVIII of 2001 on Certain Aspects of Electronic Communications Services and Information Society Services (as amended by Act No. XCVII of 2003)

Oversight: Data Protection and Freedom of Information Commissioner of Hungary[99]

Ireland[100]

  • Data Protection Act (1988)[101]
  • Data Protection Act (2003)[102]
  • Privacy Bill (2006)[103]
  • European Communities (Electronic Communications Networks and Services)(Data Protection and Privacy) Regulations (ePrivacy Regulations) (2003)[104]
  • European Communities (Electronic Communications Networks and Services)(Data Protection and Privacy) (Amendment) Regulations (ePrivacy Regulations) (2008)[105]
  • Freedom of Information Act (1997)[106]
  • Official Secrets Act (1963)[107]

Oversight: Office of the Data Protection Commissioner[108]

Italy[109]

  • Constitution, Articles 14 & 15
  • Personal Data Protection Code (2003)[110]
  • Law No. 241 (1990)[111]

Contains sections specific to access to information in administrative documents.

Oversight: Garante per la protezione dei dati personali[112]

Latvia

  • Personal Data Protection Law (2000)[113]
  • Freedom of Information Law (1998)[114]
  • Law on Official Secrets (1996)[115]
  • Law on Archives (1991)[116]
  • Electronic Documents Law (2002)[117]

Oversight: Data State Inspectorate[118]

Lithuania[119]

  • Constitution, Article 22[120]
  • Law on Legal Protection of Personal Data (2003)[121]
  • Law Amending the Law on Legal Protection of Personal Data (2008)[122]

  • Law on Archives (1995)[123]
  • Law on State Secrets and Official Secrets (1999)[124]
  • Law on Provision of Information to the Public (1996)[125]
  • Law on Electronic Communications (2004)[126]

Oversight: State Data Protection Inspectorate[127]

Luxembourg[128]

  • Constitution, Article 28
  • Amended Law on the Protection of Persons with regard to the Processing of Personal Data (2002)
  • Law of specific provisions on the processing of personal data in the electronic communications sector (2005)

Oversight: La Commission nationale pour la protection des données (CNPD)[129]

Malta[130]

  • Constitution, Article 38[131]
  • Data Protection Act (2002)[132]
  • Third Country (Data Protection Act) Regulations (2003)[133]

Oversight: Office of the Data Protection Commissioner[134]

Netherlands[135]

  • Constitution, Articles 10, 12 & 13[136]
  • Personal Data Protection Act (2000)[137]
  • Act containing Regulations governing Public Access to Government Information (1991)[138]

Oversight: The Dutch Data Protection Authority[139]

Poland[140]

  • Constitution, Articles 47, 49, 50 & 51[141]
  • Act on the Protection of Personal Data (1997)[142]
  • Act on Access to Public Information (2001)[143]
  • Classified Information Protection Act (1999)[144]

Oversight: Bureau of the Inspector General for the Protection of Personal Data[145]

Portugal[146]

  • Constitution, Articles 26, 34 & 35[147]
  • Act on the Protection of Personal Data (1998)[148]
  • Law No. 69/98 Personal Data and Privacy Protection in the Telecommunication sector (1998)
  • Law 41/2004 implementing EC Directive 2002/58 on Privacy and Electronic Communication (2004)
  • Law 12/2005 on genetic (and) health personal data (2005)
  • Decree-Law 7/2004 on Privacy and Electronic Communications in regard to the use of unsolicited communication for direct marketing purposes (2004)

Oversight: National Commission on Data Protection (CNPD)[149]

Romania[150]

  • Constitution, Articles 26, 27, 28, 30 & 31[151]
  • Law No. 677/2001 on the Protection of Individuals with Regard to the Processing of Personal Data and the Free Movement of Such Data (2001)[152]
  • Law No. 102/2005 regarding the Setting Up, Organisation and Functioning of the National Supervisory Authority for Personal Data Processing (2005)[153]
  • Law n° 506/2004 on the processing of personal data and the protection in the electronics sector (2004)[154]
  • Law n° 506/2004 on the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector[155]

Oversight: National Supervisory Authority for Personal Data Processing[156]

Slovakia[157]

  • Constitution, Articles 16, 19, 21 & 22[158]
  • Act on Protection of Personal Data (2002)[159]
  • Freedom of Information Act[160]
  • Act No. 610/2003 of 3 December 2003 on Electronic Communications[161]

Oversight: Office for Personal Data Protection of the Slovak Republic[162]

Slovenia[163]

  • Constitution Articles 35, 36, 37 & 38[164]
  • Personal Data Protection Act (2004)[165]
  • Access to Public Information Act (2003)[166]
  • Classified Information Act (2001)[167]
  • Archives and Archival Institutions Act (1997)[168]

Oversight: Information Commissioner[169]

Spain[170]

  • Constitution, Articles 18 & 20[171]
  • Organic Law 15/1999 on the Protection of Personal Data(1999)[172]
  • Royal Decree 994/1999, approving the Regulation on Mandatory Security Measures for the Computer Files which contain Personal Data (1999)[173]
  • Act 41/2002 on the autonomy of the patient and on the rights and obligations in matter of clinical information and documentation (2002)[174]
  • Organic Law No.14 on General Health (1986)
  • Law 32/2003 General Telecommunications (2003)[175]
  • Law Act 34/2002 on Information Society Services and Electronic (2002)[176]
  • Act 32/2003 of 3 November (State Telecommunications Act) (2003)[177]

Oversight: Data Protection Authority[178]

Sweden[179]

  • Constitution: Instrument of Government Ch.2 Art.3 & 22[180]
  • Constitution: Freedom of the Press Act, Ch.2 & Ch.3[181]
  • Constitution: The Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression, Ch.2[182]
  • The Personal Data Act (1998)[183]
  • The Personal Data Ordinance (1998:1191) (1998)[184]
  • Data Inspection Board Regulation - DIFS 1998:3[185]
  • Data Inspection Board Regulation - DIFS 2001:1[186]
  • The Marketing Act (1995:450)[187]

Oversight: Swedish Data Inspection Board[188]

United Kingdom[189]

  • Data Protection Act (1998)[190]
  • Public Records Act (1958)[191]
  • Code of Practice on Access to Government Information (1994)[192]
  • Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations (2003)[193]
  • Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment) Regulations (2004)[194]
  • Freedom of Information Act (2000)[195]
  • Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act (2002)[196]
  • Impact Assessment of UK Police and Justice Bill[197]

The UK Police and Justice bill would allow police to capture passenger and crew data on air and sea journeys within the UK.

Oversight: Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)[198]

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