Protection of personal data
Reform of data protection legislation
In 2012, the Commission proposed a major reform of the EU legal framework on the protection of personal data. The new proposals will strengthen individual rights and tackle the challenges of globalisation and new technologies. Read full details
Protecting your personal data - a fundamental right!
The free flow of personal data - a common good!
Whenever you open a bank account, join a social networking website or book a flight online, you hand over vital personal information such as your name, address, and credit card number.
What happens to this data? Could it fall into the wrong hands? What rights do you have regarding your personal information?
Everyone has the right to the protection of personal data.
Under EU law, personal data can only be gathered legally under strict conditions, for a legitimate purpose. Furthermore, persons or organisations which collect and manage your personal information must protect it from misuse and must respect certain rights of the data owners which are guaranteed by EU law.
Every day within the EU, businesses, public authorities and individuals transfer vast amounts of personal data across borders. Conflicting data protection rules in different countries would disrupt international exchanges. Individuals might also be unwilling to transfer personal data abroad if they were uncertain about the level of protection in other countries.
Therefore, common EU rules have been established to ensure that your personal data enjoys a high standard of protection everywhere in the EU. You have the right to complain and obtain redress if your data is misused anywhere within the EU.
The EU's Data Protection Directive also foresees specific rules for the transfer of personal data outside the EU to ensure the best possible protection of your data when it is exported abroad.