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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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phaedra1_book_krk_cover_page_smallIt is with great pleasure that we announce that the PHAEDRA I project (Improving Practical and Helpful cooperAtion betweEn Data Protection Authorities, 2013-2015) has produced its final publication, constituting also Deliverable D5.3. The project’s final book, titled ‘Enforcing privacy: lessons from current implementations and perspectives for the future‘ and edited by VUB-LSTS researches Prof. Dr. Paul De Hert and Dariusz Kloza, LLM as well as GIODO‘s Paweł Makowski, was released on 6 October 2015. It is an open access publication to be downloaded here.

This book is composed of selected interventions made at the final conference of the PHAEDRA project, held on 12 December 2014 in Kraków, Poland. These contributions are preceded by invited comments written by the experts in the field. Each of these papers – in one way or another touching upon various aspects of cooperation between supervisory authorities – contributes to the unambiguous conclusion that the efficiency of such cooperation is an essential element of the effective protection of the fundamental rights to privacy and personal data protection‘ – wrote the editors in the Introduction.

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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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PHAEDRA projectThe PHAEDRA project (Improving Practical and Helpful cooperAtion betweEn Data Protection Authorities) entered a new phase on 15 January 2015. Growing out of the first PHAEDRA project (2013-2015), PHAEDRA II (2015-2017) will identify and develop practical solutions to improve cooperation between data protection authorities (DPAs). Co-funded by the European Union under its Fundamental Rights & Citizenship Programme, the new project will focus on challenges for cooperation arising from the pending European data protection reform and develop strategies and practical instruments for strengthening such cooperation under the new legal framework.

Similarly to the first project, PHAEDRA II is led by Prof. Paul De Hert and his team at the Law, Science, Technology and Society Research Group (LSTS) of the Vrije Universiteit Brussels (VUB). In addition to VUB’s LSTS, the consortium comprises Trilateral Research & Consulting LLP (TRI), Generalny Inspektor Ochrony Danych Osobowych (GIODO) – the Polish Data Protection Authority, and Universitat Jaume I (UJI), also partners to the first PHAEDRA project consortium.

Moving to the second stage of the project, the kick-off meeting of PHEADRA II took place on 20 January 2015, on the eve of the 8th Computers, Privacy and Data Protection Conference (CPDP, 21-23 January 2015). The consortium was fully represented at the meeting, including the PHAEDRA project officer Ms Lilian Shah. The PHAEDRA II project will run until 14 January 2017.

Further information on the PHAEDRA II project can be found at http://www.phaedra-project.eu and @PHAEDRAproject.

picture by verbeeldingskr8 (@flickr)

On Wednesday 14 August 2013 two LSTS researchers, Dariusz Kloza and Gertjan Boulet, will give a talk on privacy at the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) in Bangalore, India. The Centre for Internet and Society is a non-profit research organization that works on policy issues relating to freedom of expression, privacy, accessibility for persons with disabilities, access to knowledge and IPR reform, and openness (including open government data, free/open source software, open standards, open access to scholarly literature, open educational resources, and open video), and engages in academic research on digital natives and digital humanities.

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“working the pipes” by john maddin (@flickr)

A consortium of four partners from Belgium, the UK, Spain and Poland has initiated a new European project aimed at helping data protection authorities (DPAs) around the world to improve the enforcement of privacy laws.

The two-year research project, called PHAEDRA, started in January 2013 and is co-funded by the European Union under its Fundamental Rights and Citizenship programme. PHAEDRA is the acronym for “Improving Practical and Helpful cooperAtion bEtween Data PRotection Authorities”. The four partners include Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium), Trilateral Research & Consulting (UK), Universitat Jaume I (Spain) and the Inspector General for Personal Data Protection (GIODO), the Polish data protection authority.

“In the spirit of the ombudsman idea, Member States of the EU have established data protection authorities, who operate de facto privacy help desks that support citizens confronted with privacy and data protection problems, be it spam, identity theft or black lists stored in third countries without data protection. These data protection authorities became a recognisable feature of Europe’s Information Society helping, on a no-cost basis, citizens, companies and state institutions with legal advice or using their administrative and police powers to fight data protection abuses,” says Prof. Paul De Hert, the PHAEDRA project co-ordinator from VUB.

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