The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) replaces the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC and was designed to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe, to protect and empower all EU citizens data privacy and to reshape the way organizations across the region approach data privacy.
GDPR was approved by the EU Parliament on 14 April 2016. It will enter in force 20 days after its publication in the EU Official Journal and will be directly application in all members states two years after this date.
Enforcement date: 25 May 2018 - at which time those organizations in non-compliance will face fines.
Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data is contained in the following pages.
Currently, the GDPR has just reached an agreement in the informal negotiation stage referred to as the “Trilogues” following the adoption of the first readings by both the Parliament and the Council.
There are three European authorities officially responsible for the legislative process, and two advisory bodies worth noting for their specific relation to data privacy:
The European Commission is the EU's executive body. It
represents the interests of the European Union as a whole through a total of 28
commissioners, one from each member state, and 23,000 staff members. The body
works on the basis of collective decision-making in order to complete its roles
of proposing legislation, enforcing European law (with the help of the Court of
Justice), representing the EU internationally, setting objectives, and managing
EU policies and the budget.
The European Parliament is the only body whose members are
directly elected by the citizens of the EU. It’s aim is to preserve democracy
and represent the interests of the people. It holds powers over passing
legislation, the EU budget, and the President and appointments of the
Commission. It is made up of 751 members, elected to five year terms, with
representation based upon the population of each member state.
Council of Ministers of the European Union
The Council of the Ministers of the European Union represents the governments of each member state. Its shares the power of adoption for legislation and the budget with Parliament, and also coordinates policy for the individual member states as well as foreign and security policy for the Union. Based on proposals from the Commission, the Council is the authoritative body to conclude and sign off on international agreements. The council meetings are attended by representatives (either ministers or state secretaries) who have the right to commit their countries and cast their vote.
Article 29 Data Protection Working Party
The Article 29 Working Party is and advisory body set up
under the Data Privacy Directive 95/46/EC and is composed of representatives of
the national data protection authorities (DPA), the EDPS and the European
Commission. Its role is to advise the Commission on general data protection
matters as well as laws from the EU that may affect data privacy. It also
promotes the uniform application of the Data Protection Directive across the
European Data Protection Supervisor
The European Data Protection Supervisor is the independent supervisory authority set up in 2014 by the Parliament and Council to advise EU administrations on the processing of personal data as well as supervising these bodies to ensure compliance to their own regulations. The EDPS also handles complaints and monitors new technologies related to the processing of personal data.
The ordinary legislative procedure covers the majority of what is known as secondary law, which is derived from the principles and objectives set out in EU Treaties and includes regulations, directives and decisions. This has already taken place between 2009 and 2014.
It is always important to note that the
GDPR is a regulation, which is immediately applicable across the Union, rather than a directive, which must be transposed into national law by each individual member state.
The GDPR was initially proposed by the Commission in January
of 2012, amended by the Parliament in its first reading in March of 2014, and
most recently amended by the Council in its first reading in June of 2015. The
first trilogue meeting was held on the 24th of June, with a stated goal from the
three EU bodies to reach an agreement by the end of 2015.
A political agreement was made on 15 December 2015, leaving the regulation to be signed by the Presidents and Secretaries General of both the Parliament and the Council. Was adopted by the Council on April 8th 2016 and the European Parliament on April 16th.
Final agreed text was officially published in May 2016, the regulation will be fully enforceable from May 2018 after the two year grace period beginning on the date of publishing.
The official copy of the text released on 27th April 2016 used here has been obtained from the official journal of the European Union as published at http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=OJ:L:2016:119:FULL&from=EN
The Notes on the regulations that explain the relevance of the Directive is available here:
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