Data protection has been granted the status of an authentic fundamental right in European Union law (art. 8 Charter of fundamental rights of the European Union). Even though it continues to be linked to the right to private and family life, it enjoys however an autonomous status.
The Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data, which has been elaborated under the auspices of the Council of Europe has been the first – and until 1995 – unique specific European legal instrument which enjoys a binding legal force. Since then, the European Union has been a decisive actor in the development of national data protection legislations in many Member States. The current revision of the European legal framework on data protection (concerning both, the European Union and Council of Europe) aims at strengthening the control over the processing of personal data, building trust with regard to new technologies and reducing costs for businesses. These objectives will be reached through the recognition of new rights and the introduction of new obligations and prohibitions. Until now, we have been focusing particularly on data protection in the fields of public health and security.