Research Handbooks in European Law series
Edited by Andrej Savin and Jan Trzaskowski
Chapter 22: Data protection reform and the Internet: the draft Data Protection Regulation
Data protection in general occupies a place of growing significance within the landscape of European Internet law. As our living and working environments become ‘smarter’ and turn into ‘the Internet of things’, more personal data is collected about us, opening new opportunities for economy, governance and innovation. Simultaneously, growing exposure of personal data creates risks of discrimination, unfair treatment or hurdles for freedom of expression for individuals and society in general. The task of the data protection law – through substantive principles and procedural rules – is to balance the gains and threats of personal data processing, and to ensure that, while the benefits of data processing are taken advantage of, people and society are shielded from the negative effects. In 1995 the EC Data Protection Directive (DPD) was adopted setting the landscape for the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data. The Directive introduced common legal principles and concepts, such as individual control rights, purpose limitation, data quality and legitimacy of data processing. As a result, a harmonized legal framework for data protection was created, facilitating trans-border policy dialogue and free data flow within the European internal market. Although the Directive is commonly praised for its core principles, its implementation has frequently been the subject of criticism and discontent.
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