Context and background of European data protection law (Table)

The right to personal data protection

Key Points:

Under Article 8 of the ECHR, a person’s right to protection with respect to the processing of personal data forms part of the right to respect for private and family life, home and correspondence.

CoE Convention 108 is the first and, to date, the only international legally binding instrument dealing with data protection. The Convention underwent a modernisation process, completed with the adoption of amending Protocol CETS No. 223.

Under EU law, data protection has been acknowledged as a distinct fundamental right. It is affirmed in Article 16 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the EU, as well as in Article 8 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Under EU law, data protection was regulated for the first time by the Data Protection Directive in 1995.

In view of rapid technological developments, the EU adopted new legislation in 2016 to adapt data protection rules to the digital age. The General Data Protection Regulation became applicable in May 2018, repealing the Data Protection Directive.

Together with the General Data Protection Regulation, the EU adopted legislation on the processing of personal data by state authorities for law enforcement purposes.

Directive (EU) 2017/680 establishes the data protection rules and principles that govern personal data processing for the purposes of preventing, investigating, detecting and prosecuting criminal offences or executing criminal penalties.

Source: European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights and Council of Europe, 2018

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