EDPS strategy to 2024 will focus on digital solidarity in a connected world

June 30, 2020

The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), Wojciech Wiewiórowski, has published the EDPS Strategy for 2020-2024, which will focus on digital solidarity. He said that in a connected world, where data flows across borders, solidarity within Europe and internationally will help to strengthen the right to data protection and make data work for people across the EU and beyond. 

The strategy is set against the background of global competition in standard-setting (ie other countries now have data protection agendas); widespread surveillance such as the deployment of biometric technology; the covid-19 pandemic; and digital sovereignty, where data generated in Europe is converted into value for European companies and individuals, and processed in accordance with European values.

The EDPS’s powers are set out in Article 58 of the GDPR, and is an independent supervisory authority with responsibility for monitoring the processing of personal data by the EU institutions and bodies, advising on policies and legislation that affect privacy and cooperating with similar authorities to ensure consistent data protection. Its mission is also to raise awareness on risks and to protect individuals’ rights and freedoms when their personal data is processed.

The three core pillars of the EDPS strategy outline the guiding actions and objectives for the organisation to the end of 2024 and include foresight, action and solidarity.


The EDPS says that it will continue to monitor legal, social and technological advances around the world and engage with experts, specialists and data protection authorities to inform its work. It is uniquely positioned to monitor developments in the areas of freedom, security and justice, due to its involvement in various other bodies. 


To strengthen the EDPS’ supervision, enforcement and advisory roles the EDPS will promote coherence in the activities of enforcement bodies in the EU and proactively develop tools to assist the EU institutions, bodies and agencies to maintain the highest standards in data protection. 

Personal information has played, and will continue to play an important role in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. EU data privacy laws allow the processing of personal data for public health purposes, including in times of emergency. Data protection law is well-equipped to help support the public good, and does not represent an obstacle to fighting the virus. It is possible to build technological solutions, which comply with the legal data protection framework. Some recent application show that societies can take up technologies while upholding privacy and data protection rights. It remains paramount that EU institutions and member states continue to actively engage with data protection authorities.

Data protection is one of the last lines of defence for vulnerable individuals, such as migrants and asylum seekers approaching EU external borders. Although the EU has accumulated a patchwork of measures in the areas of police and judicial cooperation and border management, the legal framework remains fragmented, creating unnecessary discrepancies. This puts unwarranted constraints on the EDPS’ supervisory and enforcement powers.


While promoting and safeguarding digital justice and privacy for all, the EDPS says that it will also enforce responsible and sustainable data processing, to positively affect individuals and maximise societal benefits in a just and fair way. In terms of sustainability, the ongoing development of AI and blockchain based technologies, as well as illegal tracking and profiling of individuals generate an increasing amount of dangerous waste, due to short-lived connected goods, combined with exponential carbon footprint emissions. This is a great source of concern in light of the EU Green Deal and data protection.

Wojciech Wiewiórowski concluded his presentation on the strategy by saying that the EDPS would collaborate with European institutions and bodies and called for action to ensure a safer digital future.