Article 29 Working Party: Further Opinion on Data Protection Reform

October 11, 2012

The Article 29 Working Party has adopted an opinion on the data protection reform package proposal that the European Commission presented on 25 January 2012. The opinion contains a more detailed follow-up to the Article 29 Working Party’s opinion of March 2012 that provided a first general reaction to the proposals.

The Working Party’s opinion provides further guidance, notably on certain key data protection concepts such as the definition of personal data and the notion of consent. The opinion also provides criteria for analysing the need for and the effect of the proposed delegated acts (delegated acts allow Parliament and the Council to delegate to the Commission the power to adopt ‘non-legislative acts of general application to supplement or amend certain non-essential elements of a legislative act’).  In the annex an analysis is made of each proposed delegated act (of which a considerable number are proposed in the package) to establish its necessity and, where appropriate, the opinion suggests more suitable alternatives.

The Article 29 Working Party welcomes the so-called ‘package’ approach taken by the European Parliament and is confident that all parliamentary committees involved will take careful consideration of all elements of the package in order to further improve both proposals. The Working Party also welcomes the steps undertaken by the Cypriot Presidency of the Council which are meant to reinvigorate discussions in the Council Working Group dealing with the reform.

The Article 29 Working Party is in the process of examining the principle of purpose limitation. This principle provides that personal data must be collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and must not be further used in a way incompatible with those purposes. An opinion on this issue should be adopted  early next year. The Article 29 Working Party will also contribute to on-going discussions on the scope of the Regulation, notably concerning the exemption for household and personal use.

The opinion is here.