The right to protection of personal data is a fundamental right. It is different from, but closely linked to, the right to respect for private and family life. This distinction is notably made in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights - which mentions the two rights separately, although next to each other in Articles 7 and 8.
Data protection is highly developed in the EU. The central piece of legislation is
, which regulates the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and the free movement of such data. Implemented into national laws, the Directive applies to all EU Member States as well as to Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
Regulation (EC) No 45/2001
lays down the same rights and obligations, but on the level of the EU institutions and bodies. It also establishes the EDPS as independent supervisory authority with the task of ensuring that the Regulation is complied with.
Citizens who feel that their rights have been infringed should contact the competent data protection authority, at national or European level.
As this is a specialised field, some useful information is available in the glossary, and the Q&A section of this website. This may also be helpful for those who want to know more about the obligations they need to comply with.