EU Conference: Privacy and Protection of Personal Data

19 March 2012, Washington D.C. / Brussels

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About the conference

Processing of personal data is becoming an increasingly important factor in individuals' lives: at work, in dealing with public authorities, when buying goods or services, receiving healthcare, travelling, or simply surfing the Internet.

Respect for privacy and the protection of personal data remain crucial for the development and sustainability of any democratic society, and are necessary for the effective exercise of other fundamental rights and freedoms, such as the freedom of expression and information; the freedom of assembly and association and protection against discrimination. The reassurance that their rights are guaranteed is also a precondition for individuals' trust in the online world and their willingness to actively participate in it.

The European Union recognises the protection of personal data as fundamental right; and the EU Treaties oblige the EU legislator to lay down a comprehensive set of rules. The EU is currently reviewing its legal framework on data protection; and this conference contributed to reinforcing transatlantic dialogue at a time of concurrent policy and legislative initiatives in the EU and US. It provided a forum for US and EU stakeholders from public and private sectors to obtain comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date information on EU data protection principles and the ongoing reform, and to discuss US and EU perspectives focusing on commercial privacy.

The conference took stock of the operation of the EU-US Safe Harbour agreement and discuss issues regarding its further development.

The conference was held simultaneously in Washington DC (main venue) and Brussels (via video conference link). A recorded web cast is available.

Photos of the conference will be published on the Commission's website and the conference. You can also follow a hashtag #eudpconf on Twitter.


Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission, responsible for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship (in Brussels)

Representative Ed Markey (D-MA), Co-Chair of Congressional Privacy Caucus

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