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p2_farewell_slide_v4-colorWith a set of more than 50 recommendations for the improvement of practical cooperation between data protection authorities, a multi-national research consortium – led by Prof. Dr. Paul De Hert of Vrije Universiteit Brussel – concluded a four-year research initiative in the framework of two projects named “PHAEDRA”. These studies were commissioned and financially supported by the European Union.

Personal data no longer stay within one country. They are constantly being exchanged between jurisdictions and this elevates risks for both individuals as well as public and private organisations. When something goes wrong – for example a data breach – the consequences are not only often serious, but also these consequences equally often occur in more than one country. Given the importance of information for contemporary economy and national security, an adequate response to tackle this challenge is therefore critically needed. It is a global standard in data protection law that dedicated supervisory authorities have been set up not only to sanction violations of this branch of law, but also to work to prevent these violations from happening. These authorities normally have been busy with matters concerning their own countries. As these days personal data transcend boundaries, these authorities now need to work together efficiently to achieve this double end” – said Prof. De Hert.

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‘Knitting together’ by Kristina Alexanderson via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Almost as a tradition, the end of February marks each year a visit of VUB-LSTS researchers to the International Legal Informatics Symposium (IRIS) held in Salzburg, Austria. The bilingual, German-English IRIS has been established as the largest and most important academic conference on computers and law in Austria and Central Europe.

This year, Prof. Dr. Paul De Hert, Antonella Galetta and Dariusz (Darek) Kloza will partake in the 19th edition thereof, which will take place on 25-27 February 2016 and which is devoted to the concept of “Networks”.

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picture by Janis Lanka (@flickr)

On 20 July 2015 the PHAEDRA II project consortium published its first deliverable: Authorities’ views on the impact of the data protection framework reform on their co-operation in the EU, authored by David Barnard-Wills and David Wright (Trilateral Research & Consulting LLP).

This report provides the findings from a series of interviews with senior representatives of EU data protection authorities (DPAs) in April-May 2015. Topics covered in the interviews include the main developments of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), including the consistency mechanisms, one-stop shop, European Data Protection Board (EDPB), and their impact on cooperation between EU DPAs; challenges to co-operation and co-ordination between EU DPAs; cooperation and coordination regarding enforcement and the perspectives of the DPAs on the activities envisaged within the PHAEDRA II project – a repository of key DPA decisions, investigating the feasibility of a common approach to complaint handling, mapping enforcement powers and technology watch activities.

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On 6 MayPhaedra 2014, the second workshop on “Challenges and barriers for cooperation and coordination between DPAs” took place as a side event to the 55th meeting of the International Working Group on Data Protection in Telecommunications (IWGDPT), the so-called Berlin group (5-6 May 2014, Skopje). Members of the PHAEDRA consortium presented the results of the project so far, and representatives of Data Protection Authorities (DPAs) gave short presentations. The agenda is available hereA news video is available here.

On 9 May 2014, the PHAEDRA project published part 2 of the second deliverable, titled “Legal reflections for further improving cooperation between data protection authorities”. The report reflects on the instruments for cooperation between DPAs, the independence of DPAs and other possible elements that could improve current practices of cooperation between DPAs. It also provides lessons from legal areas other than data protection. The report was produced by Professor Dr. Paul De Hert and Gertjan Boulet, researchers from VUB-LSTS. The full report is available here.

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PhaedraThe PHAEDRA project has published the first part of the second deliverable, which is titled “A compass  towards best elements for cooperation ¨between data protection authorities”. The report gives an overview of relevant legislation, networks between data protection authorities (DPAs) and agreements between DPAs. The report also distinguishes different aims of cooperation, and best elements for cooperation between DPAs.

The report was produced by Professor Dr. Paul De Hert and Gertjan Boulet, researchers from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel – Research Group on Law, Science, Technology and Society (VUB-LSTS). The report received a contribution from Auke Wilems, researcher from VUB – Research Group Fundamental Rights & Constitutionalism (FRC).

To access the full report, please click here.

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picture by PHAEDRA Consortium

More than 75 representatives of Data Protection Authorities (DPAs), Privacy Commissioners and Privacy Enforcement Authorities around the world registered for the First PHAEDRA Workshop aimed at improving privacy enforcement co-operation and co-ordination, which took place in Warsaw (Poland) on 24 September 2013.

The workshop was opened by Wojciech Wiewiórowski, Inspector General for Personal Data Protection. The PHAEDRA Consortium presented the results of its efforts so far, and the following panellists presented their views: Ms. Elaine Miller (Directorate-General Justice, European Commission); Mr. Jean-Philippe Walter (Committee of Convention 108, Council of Europe); Mr. Hugh Stevenson (US Federal Trade Commission); Mr. Giovanni Buttarelli, European Data Protection Supervisor); Mr. Blair Stewart (New Zealand Privacy Commissioner’s Office, New Zealand); Mr. Carman Baggeley (Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada); Mr. Rafael García Gozalo (Agencia Española de Protección de Datos) and Mr. David Smith (Information Commissioner’s Office, UK).

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PhaedraVrije Universiteit BrusselResearch Group on Law, Science, Technology & Society (VUB-LSTS), Trilateral Research & Consulting LLP (TRI), Generalny Inspektor Ochrony Danych Osobowych (GIODO) and Universitat Jaume I (UJI) are currently conducting research on improving cooperation and coordination between data protection authorities (DPAs). Our project, undertaken in the framework of the action grants of the EU’s Fundamental Rights & Citizenship Programme, is called PHAEDRA: Improving Practical and Helpful cooperAtion betweEn Data PRotection Authorities.

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