European Data Protection Supervisor
‘Europe will not be made all at once, or according to a single plan. It will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity’.
Robert Schuman, 9 May 1950
There are events in history that help societies and civilization to move forward, that inspire ideas that shape humankind. Today we celebrate Europe and the foundation that is the Schuman declaration. The declaration set in motion the process of European integration and inspired a whole new era of cooperation between countries, based on the preservation of peace.
Since the last meeting of the network of data protection officers (DPOs) in the EU institutions and bodies (EUIs), in Florence on 7 November 2019, our lives have changed dramatically.
Our way of living and working has been disrupted as governments put in place measures to halt the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
The outbreak of Covid-19 is affecting our lives at an unprecedented pace. It is testing the resilience of our societies as we respond to this global crisis and try to contain its consequences, both in the short and in the long run.
When we started our work on the Strategy for the five-year mandate of the European Data Protection Supervisor, one of the first issues we discussed was whether it should be either a living document, ready to be changed or adjusted, or a robust, future-proof plan.
We know that a substantial amount of data is processed to fuel and improve the machine learning algorithms at the heart of Artificial Intelligence (AI). And we are aware of the rapidly increasing precision and capabilities of ubiquitous surveillance equipment.
If you believe everything you read in the papers or see in films, artificial intelligence (AI) is either going to be the saviour or the downfall of the world as we know it. While we’re not yet witnessing either extreme, it is not under dispute that the various applications of AI raise a number of challenges for those defending the rights and freedoms of individuals.
It’s a common myth that a trainee’s daily routine consists of making cups of coffee and photocopies. Here at the EDPS, however, that myth couldn’t be further from the truth.
One of the many important tasks we entrust our trainees with is the industrious task of organising a conference on a data protection issue of their choice.
The EDPS is lucky to benefit from the expertise of seconded national experts. These are data protection experts employed by an EU Member State’s national Data Protection Authority (DPAs) who are seconded to work with one of the teams at the EDPS for an extended period. The secondment process allows for a productive exchange of perspectives and knowledge between national DPAs and the EDPS, paving the way for smoother future cooperation.
When should data be shared? Now seems as good a time as any to reflect, as we approach the season of giving, on such a question.
At the end of last month, the EDPS had the privilege of hosting the 31st edition of the annual European Data Protection Case Handling Workshop at which we welcomed colleagues from 28 EU and non-EU data protection authorities.
The unique set up of the workshop is an opportunity to meet a wide array of practitioners and to share our experiences of investigating complaints, providing guidance to controllers and enforcing data protection law.