Several directives deal with personal data usage in the EU, but the most overarching is the general policy approved by the European Commission in 1995 (95/46EC) which protects individuals' privacy and personal data use. The Directive was adopted in 1995, became effective in 1998 and protects individuals' privacy and personal data use. The Directive recognizes the European view that privacy is a fundamental human right and establishes a general comprehensive legal framework that is aimed at protecting individuals and promoting individual choice regarding the processing of personal data. The Directive imposes an onerous set of requirements on any person that collects or processes data pertaining to individuals in their personal or professional capacity. It is based on a set of data protection principles, which include the legitimate basis, purpose limitation, data quality, proportionality and transparency principles, data security and confidentiality, data subjects' rights of access, rectification, deletion and objection, restrictions on onwards transfers, additional protection where special categories of data and direct marketing are involved and a prohibition on automated individual decisions. The Directive applies to all sectors of industry, from financial institutions to consumer goods companies, and from list brokers to any employer. The Directive's key provisions impose severe restrictions on personal data processing, grant individual rights to "data subjects" and set forth specific procedural obligations including notification to national authorities. This was followed in 1997 by a more specific directive for the telecom sector (97/66/EC), which was replaced in mid-2002 by the European institutions to adapt it to new technologies and business practices (2002/58/EC). The Directive has been supplemented by additional directives including a specific provision for e-commerce.
There is currently a proposal from the European Commission for a General Data Protection Regulation that would supersede the directive if passed. More information is available on the IAPP Resource Center here.
(1)The Collection Limitation Principle. There should be limits to the collection of personal data and any such data should be obtained by lawful and fair means and, where appropriate, with the knowledge or consent of the data subject. (2)The Data Quality Principle. Personal data should be relevant to the purposes for which they are to be used, and, to the extent necessary for those purposes, should be accurate, complete and kept up-to-date. (3)The Purpose Specification Principle. The purposes for which personal data are collected should be specified not later than at the time of data collection and the subsequent use limited to the fulfillment of those purposes or such others as are not incompatible with those purposes and as are specified on each occasion of change of purpose. (4)The Use Limitation Principle. Personal data should not be disclosed, made available or otherwise used for purposes other than those specified in accordance with Paragraph 8 (below) except a) with the consent of the data subject; or b) by the authority of law. (5)The Security Safeguards Principle. Personal data should be protected by reasonable security safeguards against such risks as loss or unauthorized access, destruction, use, modification or disclosure of data. (6)The Openness Principle. There should be a general policy of openness about developments, practices and policies with respect to personal data. Means should be readily available of establishing the existence and nature of personal data, and the main purposes of their use, as well as the identity and usual residence of the data controller. (7)The Individual Participation Principle. An individual should have the right: a) to obtain from a data controller, or otherwise, confirmation of whether or not the data controller has data relating to him; b) to have data relating to him communicated to him, within a reasonable time, at a charge, if any, that is not excessive; in a reasonable manner; and in a form that is readily intelligible to him; c) to be given reasons if a request made under subparagraphs (a) and (b) is denied, and to be able to challenge such denial, and d) to challenge data relating to him and, if the challenge is successful to have the data erased, rectified, completed or amended.(8) The Accountability Principle. A data controller should be accountable for complying with measures which give effect to the principles stated above. The concept that organizations need to build privacy directly into technology, systems and practices at the design phase, thereby ensuring the existence of privacy from the outset. Originating in the mid-1990s by the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, the principle has gained recognition around the globe, including from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the European Commission. Privacy by Design consists of seven foundational principles: (1) Proactive not Reactive; Preventative not Remedial. Privacy by Design anticipates and prevents privacy invasive events before they happen, rather than waiting for privacy risks to materialize; (2) Privacy as the Default Setting. No action is required by individuals to maintain their privacy; it is built into the system by default. This concept has been introduced in the European Commission's draft regulation to reform data protection. (3) Privacy Embedded into Design. Privacy is an essential component of the core functionality being designed and delivered. The FTC has adopted this principle in its proposed consumer privacy framework, calling for companies to promote consumer privacy throughout the organization and at every stage of product development. (4) Full Functionality—Positive-Sum, not Zero-Sum: Privacy by Design seeks to accommodate all legitimate interests and objectives, rather than making unnecessary trade-offs. (5) End-to-End Security—Full Lifecycle Protection. Strong security measures are essential to privacy, from start to finish of the lifecycle of data. This is another principle the FTC has adopted in its proposed consumer privacy framework. (6) Visibility and Transparency—Keep it Open. Privacy by Design seeks to assure all stakeholders that whatever the business practice or technology involved, it is in fact, operating according to the stated promises and objectives, subject to independent verification. Its component parts and operations remain visible and transparent, to users and providers alike. Remember, trust but verify. (7) Respect for User Privacy—Keep it User-Centric. Above all, Privacy by Design requires architects and operators to keep the interests of the individual uppermost by offering such measures as strong privacy defaults, appropriate notice, and empowering user-friendlyoptions. Keep it user-centric. A telecommunications industry term for non-core services; i.e., services beyond voice calls and fax transmissions. More broadly, the term is used in the service sector to refer to services, which are available at little or no cost, and promote their primary business. For mobile phones, while technologies like SMS, MMS and GPRS are usually considered value-added services, a distinction may also be made between standard (peer-to-peer) content and premium-charged content. These are called mobile value-added services (MVAS), which are often simply referred to as VAS. Value-added services are supplied either in-house by the mobile network operator themselves or by a third-party value-added service provider (VASP), also known as a content provider (CP) such as All Headline News or Reuters. VASPs typically connect to the operator using protocols like short message peer-to-peer protocol (SMPP), connecting either directly to the short message service centre (SMSC) or, increasingly, to a messaging gateway that gives the operator better control of the content.