Press release - DC008(2012)

Data Protection Day – 28 January

Safeguarding privacy: A global challenge requires a global response

Strasbourg, 26.01.2012 – On the eve of “Data Protection Day”, the Council of Europe is holding on 27 January a consultation with representatives of the private sector and civil society to discuss its latest proposals to modernise the Data Protection Convention.

“Privacy has probably never been as fragile as it is today. Enormous amounts of personal data are processed and flow almost instantly across borders. The challenge is global, and so must be the response. Our convention is the only binding data protection treaty with real international reach. We aim to bring together a community of nations that share common data protection principles and practices”, said Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland.

“We need greater transparency to ensure that users are informed of what is happening with their data, and that they can actually consent - or not - to it being processed. Public or private entities must be accountable for the personal data they process. The legal framework we create has to be flexible yet robust, so it does not hamper innovation, and strikes a fair balance between the free flow of data and the need for protection of individuals”, he added.


The consultation is taking place in Brussels during the sessionModernising Convention 108 in the Face of the IT Revolutionat the 5th International Computer, Privacy and Data Protection Conference.

The Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (“Convention 108”) and its additional protocol have been the model for data protection legislation in Europe and beyond since 1981 and served as a basis for the 1995 EU Directive.

The modernisation of the treaty aims to address challenges for privacy resulting from the use of new information technologies and to strengthen the convention’s follow-up mechanism. In an initial consultation process carried out in 2011 to identify areas of the treaty that need to be updated, there was a large consensus on:

    § maintaining the convention’s provisions technologically neutral and at principle-level

    § strengthening the convention’s follow-up mechanism

    § realising the convention’s potential as a universal standard while maintaining coherence with the EU’s legal framework

The proposals currently discussed deal with the need for the data processed to be strictly proportional to the purposes, the accountability of data controllers and processors, privacy by design, the obligation to declare security breaches, transparency of the processing, and additional safeguards for the data subject such as the right of access to the origin of data. Transborder data flows are another essential aspect of the modernisation process.

The proposed modernised text is available at

Further information: Special file on data protection

Council of Europe Press Division
Tel: +33 (0)3 88 41 25 60
Fax:+33 (0)3 88 41 39 11