Essay on The Importance of Data Protection in the EU: A Critical Reflection

Essay on The Importance of Data Protection in the EU: A Critical Reflection

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Introduction of Data Protection Directive

As the humanity progressed, technology has had an enormous impact on the society for two centuries. In the last 20 years alone, our world has changed radically with the emergence of the internet. The ease of gathering information at a global level led to the emergence of new laws design to protect natural persons. Therefore, data protection is a third generation fundamental right included in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, a legally binding document in the EU since the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon in December 2009. In the article 8 of the Charter it is stipulated that personal data must be fairly processed and with the consent of the concerned person .

The privacy of personal data has been a growing concern and in 1995 the EU adopted a Data Protection Directive (Directive 95/46/EC) establishing extensive standards with regard to the processing and free movement of personal data within the 15 Members States. The directive provides a framework for EU countries to adopt domestic laws in order to prevent unauthorized dissemination of citizens’ personal data.

The Directive has two-pronged objective: the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and the free movement of such data . Member States must protect their citizens’ right to privacy concerning personal data processing.

A set of definitions is outlined in the text of the Directive: Personal data regards any information related to a natural person (address, credit card number, medical record, etc.); The term processing refers to any set of operations performed upon personal data regardless of whether the processing is automated or not; The controller is a natural ...

... middle of paper ...

...s or the risk of misuse of such data.

Professor Spiros Simitis is often called one of the fathers of data protection law in Europe based on his work on the German Federal Data Protection Act (Bundesdatenschutzgesetz – BDSG). He raised concerns regarding the automated process of collecting the data and the possible situations when this data is wrongfully entered in the database that might have serious consequences when the information is used in another data base or transferred to a third party. When information related to an illness is lost during the automated process, the remaining data will include limited information related to the data subject and thus prevents the subject from having the necessary medical treatment.

To prevent this kind of risks, rules to standardize data processing are of outmost importance in order to prevent an inaccurate data set.

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