It is a pleasure and an honour to be the guest editor of the Europe Data Protection Digest following the departure of Rita Di Antonio. Let me start by thanking the ever energetic and engaging Rita for her decisive role in the growth of the IAPP in Europe. As one of the European members of the IAPP Board of Directors, I would like to invite the readers of the Digest to be inspired by the work that Rita and others have done and continue to do, and contribute their own efforts and enthusiasm for our collective professional benefit.
If anything, this week's Digest shows the influence that European data protection law and practices are having in the world. Sometimes, it is the EU data protection authorities who have a very direct impact on the development of the law—not just with their enforcement activity but through their concerted efforts to alert both businesses and citizens to the importance of good data protection and privacy practices. Having visited and met with some of these authorities across Europe in the past few days myself, I have seen how, beyond the headlines and controversies, they are all trying their best to get the message across that making data protection work effectively is good for business and the society at large.
Something I am particularly impressed about is the ambitious and forward-thinking approach that the new EDPS team—skilfully led by Giovanni Buttarelli and Wojciech Wiewiórowski—are injecting into European data protection. We are all eagerly awaiting the imminent publication of the EDPS’ strategy, but I am sure it will be aimed at ensuring that, irrespective of the legal framework eventually adopted as part of the ongoing legislative reform, data protection is aligned with innovation and progress.
The job of privacy professionals, in Europe and elsewhere, is plagued with challenges. Some of these challenges are the result of fiddly legal obligations—as shown by the recent report on cookie consent compliance—and others are caused by the uncertainty of what lies ahead – as highlighted by the tensions around Safe Harbor. However, panicking is not an option and we must hope that by working together good things will happen. On that note, I look forward to seeing many of you at the IAPP Global Privacy Summit in Washington, DC, in just over a week.
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