The Council of Europe Data Protection Convention reform: Analysis of the new text and critical comment on its global ambition

Paul de Hert/Vagelis Papakonstantinou


The year 2010 set an important milestone in the development of data protection law in Europe: both Europe’s basic regulatory texts, the EU Data Protection Directive and the Council’s Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (Convention 108), were placed at an amendment process, having served individual data protection for many years and witnessed in the meantime technological developments that threatened to make their provisions obsolete. After briefly presenting Convention 108, the analysis that follows will highlight the Council’s data protection system currently in effect as well as developments relating to the Convention’s amendment so far with the aim of identifying improvements and shortcomings. While doing this two separate points of view shall be adopted: at first a micro point of view will attempt to identify improvements and shortcomings through an ‘insider’ perspective, that is, judging only the merits and difficulties of the draft text at hand. Afterwards a macroscopic view will be adopted, whereby strategic issues will be discussed pertaining to the important issue of the relationship of the suggested draft with the EU data protection system, as well as, the same draft’s potential to constitute the next global information privacy standard.

Data Protection Convention 108; Council of Europe Data Protection; Global data protection standard