On January 10, Peter Hustinx, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), released his annual "Inventory" of issues of strategic importance for 2012, along with an annex of the relevant Commission proposals and other documents that have been recently adopted or otherwise require the attention of the EDPS. The strategic proposals can be grouped into four main categories:
- Towards a new legal framework for data protection. The European Commission has almost finalized its proposal for a new legislative framework, a draft of which was disclosed last month and which is likely to be published by the end of January. Hustinx will issue an opinion on the legislative proposal in early 2012, closely follow the review process, and continue to fulfill his advisory role throughout the legislative process by intervening at the appropriate stages.
- Technological developments and the Digital Agenda, IP rights, and Internet. Of the European Commission’s work in the area of new technologies, Hustinx will focus on the policy issues of Internet monitoring, IP enforcement, and takedown procedures (focusing on IP rights and privacy); cloud computing services (focusing on jurisdictional issues); e-Health; and a pan-European framework for electronic identification, authentication, and signature (focusing on e-security and privacy by design).
- Further developing the Area of Freedom, Security, and Justice. The items in this area at the top of Hustinx’s agenda are immigration, border control, anti-terrorism, and internal security strategy, focusing on ensuring the right balance between privacy and security.
- Financial sector reform. Hustinx plans to issue a package of opinions on data protection issues with legislative proposals concerning the regulation and supervision of financial markets and actors, including the legislative package for the revision of the banking legislation; the market abuse regulation; the regulation and the directive on markets in financial instruments; and the revision of the credit rating agencies regulation.
Hustinx also identified trends of focus for 2012, which include:
- Employment of effective information-gathering and investigative tools by administrative authorities (both EU and national).
- Significant exchanges of information between national authorities, quite often involving EU bodies and large-scale databases (with or without a central part) of increasing size and processing power.
- Developments in the field of technology, mainly due to the widespread use of the Internet and geolocation technologies.
The EDPS is an independent supervisory authority devoted to protecting personal data and privacy and promoting good practice in the EU institutions and bodies, focusing on monitoring the EU administration’s processing of personal data; advising on policies and legislation that affect privacy; and cooperating with similar authorities to ensure consistent data protection. Hustinx is serving a five-year term as the EDPS, which expires in 2013.