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Europe Data Protection Digest | Notes from the IAPP Europe Managing Director, 5 May 2017 Related reading: What does it mean to be a chief data ethics officer?

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Greetings from Brussels!

If there is one thing you can say for the European Data Protection Supervisor, Giovanni Buttarelli does not plod about. One of the most active regulators on the world stage, the EDPS took the opportunity yesterday to provide a press briefing as a "mid-mandate report," updating interested parties on progress made toward accomplishing the goals set out in his EDPS Strategy document, released March of 2015.

The three main areas of the strategy action plan are all well underway, Buttarelli reported yesterday. Not only does the looming implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation help open a new chapter for EU data protection, so too will the in-progress ePrivacy Regulation, and the EDPS has rightly begun preparing the EU institutions for the impact both will have on day-to-day operations.

Interestingly, the EDPS also last month announced it has undertaken oversight of Europol, and one can imagine the tricky privacy considerations that will entail. "We are ready to provide proactive advice and committed to ensuring that Europol’s activities are in full compliance with fundamental rights," Buttarelli said, "including data protection." This is part of the new Cooperation Board, which meets for the first time in June, and brings the EDPS together with national supervisory authorities.   

Like all of you in the business world, Europol, and all the EU institutions, will have to demonstrate accountability, and the EDPS noted he's focused acutely on making sure the EDPS leads by example here.

Can it be "simple and effective," as Buttarelli hopes? For many of you, it may not seem so simple, as you grapple with budgets, raising awareness, and the difficult issue of operationalizing ethical decision-making within your organizations. There, again, the EDPS hopes to help, with an Ethics Advisory Group tasked with stimulating global debate here.

Clearly, an ambitious strategy for the EDPS, still a relatively new body and with changes ahead under the GDPR. Data protection is no easy task for anyone nowadays. 

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