On February 15, 2017, the European Data Protection Supervisor (“EDPS”) published its Priorities for 2017 (the “EDPS Priorities”). The EDPS Priorities consist of a note listing the strategic priorities and a color-coded table listing the European Commission’s proposals that require the EDPS’ attention, sorted by level of priority.

In line with the EDPS Strategy 2015-2019 and pursuant to the Commission Work Programme 2017, the EDPS will set its focus on the following areas of strategic importance:

New Legal Framework for the EDPS

Following the European Commission’s recent proposal for a revision of Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Community institutions and bodies and on the free movement of such data defining the EDPS’ duties and tasks, the EDPS will focus on ensuring that the rules for data processing applicable to European institutions, bodies, offices and agencies are aligned with the principles of the EU General Data Protection Regulation.

Ensure the Protection of Confidentiality and Privacy in Electronic Communications

In the context of the European Commission’s ongoing review of the e-Privacy Directive 2002/58/EC, the EDPS will focus on the need to adequately translate the principle of confidentiality of electronic communications into secondary EU law.

Contribute to a Security Union and Stronger Borders Based on Respect for Fundamental Rights

The EDPS will contribute to initiatives that are likely to have implications on the protection of privacy and personal data, such as the implementation of the Security Union agenda and the Action Plan of terrorist financing.

Initiatives Related to the European Commission’s Work Programme for 2017

The EDPS also will contribute to several topics that have been identified by the Commission Work Programme as objectives for 2017, including participating in the revision of the Schengen Information System and contributing to fairer taxation of companies.

Other Initiatives

The EDPS indicated that it was consulted by the European Council on a proposal for a directive regarding contracts for the supply of digital content. In addition, the EDPS stated that it will:

  • closely monitor the proposed new framework regarding adequacy;
  • participate in the discussions around the proposed review of the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive; and
  • closely monitor the potential privacy and data protection impact of possible new trade agreements with Japan, Canada, Australia, Chile and New Zealand, and agreements in the law enforcement sector.

On January 10, 2017, the European Commission published a communication on Building a European Data Economy regarding the Digital Single Market strategy and launched a publication consultation on the free flow of data and data location restrictions. The EDPS will provide its input on the consultation.

Finally, the EDPS also announced that it will publish a toolkit to assist policymakers and the co-legislator in assessing the necessity of measures that interfere with fundamental rights, including the right to data protection. Moreover, the EDPS will follow-up with a background document on the principle of proportionality in EU data protection law.