Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, the recently reelected president of the French Data Protection Authority, the CNIL, was elected today to head the Article 29 Working Party for two years effective immediately. The Article 29 Working brings together representatives of data protection authorities of the EU Member States, the European Data Protection Supervisor, and other European data protection authorities as observers. The Working Party is influential in its examination and pronouncements on EU data protection matters, and is charged with giving expert advice to the member states regarding data protection, with promoting equal application of the Data Protection Directive in all EU member states and with giving the European Commission input on data protection matters.
Ms. Falque-Pierrotin succeeds Jacob Kohnstamm, Chairman of the Netherlands Authority, who had chaired the Working Party for four years. Mr. Kohnstamm is known for his diplomatic skills and his tenure was marked by his outreach to U.S. officials and corporations, and his frequent visits to the U.S. In February, Mr. Kohnstamm was the keynote interviewee at the Privacy Law Salon in Miami, FL, and participated (with EU Data Protection Supervisor Peter Hustinx) in a meeting of the Advisory Board of the Future of Privacy Forum at the Menlo Park, CA offices of Facebook.
The new Article 29 Chair will be faced with a changing cast of characters at the European Commission as well as the European Parliament, at a time when the future of the European Commission’s proposal for a new Data Protection Regulation is uncertain. Observers of Ms. Falque-Pierrotin believe she will be pragmatic yet forceful in her advocacy of robust privacy protections in the region.