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Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law

Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Since the time of its inception, data protection has primarily been articulated in the form of a detailed statutory code. In principle, this is true even for its governance of special expression, whether journalistic, academic, artistic or literary. It is even more clearly the case as regards related activities such as those which facilitate expression (e.g. internet search engines) or knowledge generation (e.g. statistical or archival processing falling outside of special expression). The applicable historic and contemporary statutory provisions and related parliamentary debates are therefore the focus of the National Reports in the Data Protection Law and Freedom of Expression and Information series.

Nevertheless, it is increasingly recognised that the data protection code as a whole and these provisions sit within a wide setting of constitutional rights. Such rights may relate to freedom of expression, privacy and sometimes even data protection itself. The European Convention on Human Rights (which includes the first two categories of right) and, as regards EU Members, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (which includes all three) introduce a further layers of primary rights guarantees.

To take into account this broader landscape, each Country Report now includes an initial section summarising relevant constitutional rights and their background. The Overview Report explains how these sections have been conceptualised and sets out further detail including on the European Convention and EU Charter.

CIPIL's resources on European data protection will continue to be expanded next year with an update to the national laws database consequent to more English-language translations of third generation/GDPR-era national statutes becoming available. Watch this space!