Necessity & Proportionality

Necessity is a fundamental principle when assessing the restriction of fundamental rights, such as the right to the protection of personal data. According to case-law, because of the role the processing of personal data entails for a series of fundamental rights, the limiting of the fundamental right to the protection of personal data must be strictly necessary.

Necessity shall be justified on the basis of objective evidence and is the first step before assessing the proportionality of the limitation.  Necessity is also fundamental when assessing the lawfulness of the processing of personal data. The processing operations, the categories of data processed and the duration the data are kept shall be necessary for the purpose of the processing.


Proportionality is a general principle of EU law. It restricts authorities in the exercise of their powers by requiring them to strike a balance between the means used and the intended aim. In the context of fundamental rights, such as the right to the protection of personal data, proportionality is key for any limitation on these rights.

More specifically, proportionality requires that advantages due to limiting the right are not outweighed by the disadvantages to exercise the right.  In other words, the limitation on the right must be justified. Safeguards accompanying a measure can support the justification of a measure.  A pre-condition is that the measure is adequate to achieve the envisaged objective. In addition, when assessing the processing of personal data, proportionality requires that only that personal data which is adequate and relevant for the purposes of the processing is collected and processed.



Newsletter (52)

In the June 2017 edition of the EDPS Newsletter we introduce you to our new-look Newsletter and cover the EDPS Opinion on ePrivacy, our continuing work on data ethics and the launch of our 2016 Annual Report, as well as many other EDPS activities.


Controls on cash entering or leaving the union

EDPS Comments on the Proposed Regulation on controls on cash entering or leaving the union

Available languages: German, English, French

Ex-ante product quality audits - EUIPO

Prior checking Opinion concerning ex-ante product quality audits (Case 2016-0477)

Available languages: German, English, French

Passenger ship safety regulatory framework

EDPS formal comments on the revision of passenger ship safety regulatory framework with regard to the registration of passengers and crew on board