EU lawmakers take tough stance on independent data protection

Hungary referred to European Court over independence of its data protection authority

The European Commission underlined its commitment to data protection on Wednesday by referring Hungary to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) over the independence, or lack of it, for its national data protection authority.

Under Hungary's new Constitution, which became law on Jan. 1, a new National Agency for Data Protection was set up to replace the former Data Protection Commissioner's Office. According to the Data Protection Directive, E.U. countries must establish a supervisory body, which acts in complete independence, to monitor the application of the directive. The independence of data protection authorities is also explicitly required by Article 16 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the E.U.

However, in setting up the new agency, Hungary prematurely ended the six-year term of the data protection commissioner, whose term of office was not due to finish until September 2014. The personal independence of such a data protection supervisor includes protection against removal from office, a key requirement of E.U. law.

According to the Commission, in removing the commissioner from his post two years and nine months earlier than required, Hungary violated the independence of the supervisory authority, which is why it decided to take the matter to the ECJ.

In 2010 the court ruled that the mere risk of political influence through state scrutiny is sufficient to hinder the independent performance of the supervisory authority's tasks.

A second case regarding the retirement age of judges, prosecutors and public notaries in Hungary was also referred to the ECJ on Wednesday.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?