Today, the European Commission celebrates the European Data Protection Day, which was established by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in 2006.
The European Data Protection Day turned to be a successful idea and is celebrated globally, being called the “Privacy Day,” outside Europe. European Commission’s Vice-President Andrus Ansip and European Commissioner for Justice, Vera Jourova issued a joint statement today, praising Commission’s work on data protection and stressing that building on modern and unified rules to strengthen fundamental rights is essential for the establishment of the Digital Single Market.
“Today, 28 January, marks the 10th European Data Protection day. Exactly one year ago, the European Commission committed to reaching an agreement on EU data protection reform. Less than a year later, in December 2015, we delivered on this promise, reaching a historic agreement with the European Parliament and Council,” they said.
The EU officials said that the new EU rules, “will give citizens stronger rights, allowing them to have better control of their data and ensuring that their privacy remains protected in the digital age. The digital future of Europe can only be built on trust,” Commission’s officials acknowledged.
However, the recent terrorist attacks brought the adoption of many controversial laws which according to organizations threatens data privacy. The French Patriot Act, which includes internet surveillance was criticized by Amnesty International saying that “this bill would take France a step closer to a surveillance where nothing is secret except the surveillance itself.” In Britain, the draft law known as the “Investigatory Powers Bill” also drew criticism while in Poland, people protested about the new internet surveillance law.
The EU officials didn’t comment on the controversial national laws but said that “recent terrorist attacks sadly reminded us of the need for greater cooperation between police and justice authorities across Europe.”
“The new data protection framework also includes rules to ensure a common level of data protection in this area, which will facilitate exchanges of data to prevent and investigate cross-border crime. This will increase citizens’ security; hand-in-hand with a guarantee that the protection of their personal data is safeguarded,” they added.
Ansip and Jourova also said that the European Commission is currently working on a personal data agreement with the United States and the agreement needs to protect “fundamental rights of Europeans” and ensure “legal certainty for businesses.”