In European Law, the right to privacy is a really developed aspect of the Law. The European Union has a very strong directive on data protection, which was adopted in 1995. This directive is based on the regulation of how the personal data of individuals and free movement of such data are processed within the European Union.
In January 2012, the European Commission made a comprehensive proposal to reform the data protection rules in the EU. This reformation of the policy was aimed to be a priority to be completed in 2015. The special goal of the reformed set of rules was to bring simplicity to the regulatory environment for doing business, and give back control to the citizens over their personal data. This reform of data procession is what now mainly enables the Digital Single Market, which has been prioritized by the commission. This reform enables businesses and European citizens to optimally gain from the digital economy.
In the course of carrying out certain social activities, like opening a social media account or booking a flight online, one hands over important personal data such as their address, name, and credit card information. Every individual has rights regarding all this personal data. These rights are concerned with the protection of personal data, as officially regulated under the EU Law.
The EU Law states that the gathering of personal data can only be made possible for legitimate purposes under very strict situations. This further means that every person or institution that gathers another’s personal data must ensure that it is well protected from any misuse. There are certain rights which every data owner has, which are guaranteed by European Union Law and must be adequately respected.
On a daily basis, there is a transfer of a great deal of personal data within the EU borders, by individuals, businesses and public authorities. If there were controversial rules in different countries regarding data protection, international exchanges would be disrupted. Many people wouldn’t be willing to allow their personal data be transferred abroad if there was uncertainty about the protection level in other countries. For this reason, a common EU set of rules has been created. In this way, everyone’s personal data enjoys a high rate of protection in all countries within the European Union. EU laws is open for anyone to complain or seek redress if his/her data is mishandled anywhere in the EU member states.
There is also the Data Protection Directive of the EU which foresees certain rules regarding the movement of personal data outside EU countries, otherwise known as third countries. This has put in place in order to ensure that personal data is optimally protected when transferred outside of the EU. The EU directive for third country transfer of data states that data can only be transferred to a third country that provides a sufficient protection level. An exemption to this rule is allowed in cases such as situations involving the controller himself who has assured that the receiving party will observe the data protection laws. There is also ‘’Article 29 Working Party’’ that offers advice about the protection level within the European and third countries.
In Germany, data protection is majorly controlled by the Federal Data Protection Act, which executes directive 95/46/EC on data protection.