OneTrust_Square Banner_300x250_DD_ROS_01_19
A New Era Begins at the EDPS

On Monday, March 2, I attended a reception in Brussels at which new European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) Giovanni Buttarelli and Assistant Supervisor Wojciech Wiewiórowski presented their strategic plan for the next five years. Entitled “The EDPS Strategy 2015-2019: Leading by Example,” the document represents a key moment in the work of the EU’s leading data protection regulator.

In the 11 years since Peter Hustinx originally established it, the EDPS has come to enjoy a worldwide reputation both for policy work and for its supervision of data protection in EU institutions. The fact that there is a “changing of the guard” in its leadership has led to great interest in the EDPS’ new strategic plan.

The plan’s importance in the context of EU policy-making is demonstrated by the fact that the reception was attended by First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans, the most powerful member of the commission after President Jean-Claude Juncker, and Claude Moraes, chairman of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (the LIBE Committee) of the European Parliament.

It was not many years ago that data protection was viewed with a combination of disinterest and disdain at the highest levels of the EU. But this attitude has changed completely following developments such as the entry into force of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, the Snowden revelations and the growth of the Internet. As Vice-President Timmermans said at the reception, data protection is something that “we could easily get wrong, but that we have to get right.”

The new EDPS strategy paper follows a vision “for the EU to lead by example as a beacon of respect for data protection and privacy and to speak with single, credible and informed voice on fundamental rights in the digital world” (p.16). It identifies three major strategic objectives (namely “data protection goes digital,“ “forging global partnerships,” and “opening a new chapter for EU data protection”) and 10 action items.

The agenda set out in the strategic plan is bold and interventionist. It builds on the strong support for data protection rights of the Hustinx era while putting particular focus on Internet-related issues, international cooperation and the conclusion and effective implementation of the EU’s proposed data protection reform.

The plan places particular emphasis on online issues. As Buttarelli states in the Foreword, “big data will need equally big data protection.” This will include having the EDPS “be an epicenter for creative ideas and innovative solutions, customizing existing data protection principles to fit the global digital arena.”

The new EDPS sees the data protection challenges of the next few years as global in scope, and plans to address them on an international scale. This will include working on the ethical dimension of data protection, ensuring that data protection is included in international agreements and seeing to it that the EU speaks with a single voice in international discussion of data protection issues.

The EDPS will be a more proactive partner in discussions to enact the EU’s proposed new data protection framework than it has been in the past. It wants the reform to “seek workable solutions that avoid red tape, remain flexible for technological innovation and cross-border data flows and enable individuals to enforce their rights more effectively on and offline.” It will work to ensure that EU institutions are fully accountable for their data protection practices and that a clear and comprehensive set of criteria are established that law enforcement and national security authorities must respect.

The EDPS’ new strategic plan reflects a bold vision that views the next five years both as presenting particular challenges for data protection and creating opportunities for a more robust and yet flexible EU data protection framework that can be a model for the world. All eyes will be on Brussels over the next few years to see how the EDPS realizes its ambitious goals.

Written By

Christopher Kuner


If you want to comment on this post, you need to login.


Board of Directors

See the esteemed group of leaders shaping the future of the IAPP.

Contact Us

Need someone to talk to? We’re here for you.

IAPP Staff

Looking for someone specific? Visit the staff directory.

Learn more about the IAPP»

Daily Dashboard

The day’s top stories from around the world

Privacy Perspectives

Where the real conversations in privacy happen

The Privacy Advisor

Original reporting and feature articles on the latest privacy developments

Privacy Tracker

Alerts and legal analysis of legislative trends

Privacy Tech

Exploring the technology of privacy

Canada Dashboard Digest

A roundup of the top Canadian privacy news

Europe Data Protection Digest

A roundup of the top European data protection news

Asia-Pacific Dashboard Digest

A roundup of the top privacy news from the Asia-Pacific region

Latin America Dashboard Digest

A roundup of the top privacy news from Latin America

IAPP Westin Research Center

Original works. Groundbreaking research. Emerging scholars.

Get more News »

IAPP Communities

Meet locally with privacy pros, dive deep into specialized topics or connect over common interests. Find your Community in KnowledgeNet Chapters, Sections and Affinity Groups.

IAPP Job Board

Looking for a new challenge, or need to hire your next privacy pro? The IAPP Job Board is the answer.

Join the Privacy List

Have ideas? Need advice? Subscribe to the Privacy List. It’s crowdsourcing, with an exceptional crowd.

Find a KnowledgeNet Chapter Near You

Talk privacy and network with local members at IAPP KnowledgeNet Chapter meetings, taking place worldwide.

Find more ways to Connect »

Find a Privacy Training Class

Two-day privacy training classes are held around the world. See the complete schedule now.

The Privacy Core™ Library Has Evolved

Privacy Core™ e-learning essentials just expanded to include seven new units for marketers. Keep your data safe and your staff in the know!

Online Privacy Training

Build your knowledge. The privacy know-how you need is just a click away.

Upcoming Web Conferences

See our list of upcoming web conferences. Just log on, listen in and learn!

Train Your Team

Get your team up to speed on privacy by bringing IAPP training to your organization.

Let’s Get You DPO Ready

There’s no better time to train than right now! We have all the resources you need to meet the challenges of the GDPR.

Learn more »

CIPP Certification

The global standard for the go-to person for privacy laws, regulations and frameworks

CIPM Certification

The first and only privacy certification for professionals who manage day-to-day operations

CIPT Certification

The industry benchmark for IT professionals worldwide to validate their knowledge of privacy requirements

FIP Designation

Recognizing the advanced knowledge and issue-spotting skills a privacy pro must attain in today’s complex world of data privacy.

Certify Your Staff

Find out how you can bring the world’s only globally recognized privacy certification to a group in your organization.


The IAPP’S CIPP/E and CIPM are the ANSI/ISO-accredited, industry-recognized combination for DPO readiness. Learn more today.

Learn more about IAPP certification »

IAPP-OneTrust Website Scanning & Cookie Compliance Tool

Scan your website for cookies, tags, forms and policies and create a custom, dynamically updated cookie policy based on the results of your scans.

Are You Ready for the GDPR?

Check out the IAPP's EU Data Protection Reform page for all the tools and resources you need.

Privacy Vendor List

Find a privacy vendor to meet your needs with our filterable list of global service providers.

IAPP Communities

Meet locally with privacy pros, dive deep into specialized topics or connect over common interests. Find your Community in KnowledgeNet Chapters, Sections and Affinity Groups.

More Resources »

Global Privacy Summit 2017

The world’s premier privacy conference returns with the sharpest minds and unparalleled programs—plus a whole new spin on Active Learning!

Canada Privacy Symposium 2017

The Symposium returns to Toronto! Take advantage of Early Bird rates before March 31 and join your fellow privacy pros for a stellar program.

The Privacy Bar Section Forum 2017

The Privacy Bar Section Forum is SOLD OUT and the wait list is closed. If you got on the wait list, we'll keep in touch about your status. Good luck!

Asia Privacy Forum 2017

Join us in Singapore for exclusive networking and intensive education on data protection trends and challenges in the Asia Pacific region.

Privacy. Security. Risk. 2017

We're bringing the best of the best in privacy and infosecurity to sunny San Diego. Early registration for P.S.R. opens in May.

Europe Data Protection Congress 2017

Your source for European policy debate, multi-level strategic thinking and thought-provoking discussion. Registration opens in early June.

Sponsor an Event

Increase visibility for your organization—check out sponsorship opportunities today.

More Conferences »

Become a Member

Start taking advantage of the many IAPP member benefits today

Corporate Members

See our list of high-profile corporate members—and find out why you should become one, too

Renew Your Membership

Don’t miss out for a minute—continue accessing your benefits

Join the IAPP»