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Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law

Wednesday, 20 March 2024

Cover of Sixteenth Report of the Article 29 Working Party, the penultimate issued by this EU body.Cambridge's Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law (CIPIL) is particularly well known for the scholarship of its individual members, for its annual conference and for its year-round seminars. It also has a significant track-record in developing online resources which are designed to facilitate research and investigation of information law and regulation (and also intellectual property where we have in particular developed a unique Virtual Museum). Given the plethora of material available elsewhere, our information law resources have focused on CIPIL's core strengths which lie in European transnational and comparative law and regulation, the history and development of this law and an exploration of areas of acute rights conflict.

For Spring 2024 we are delighted to launch a new resource on European transnational regulation which comprehensively combines the EU Article 29 Data Protection (A29) Working Party’s documentation from 1997 to 2018. This has involved the systematic collation and organisation of hundreds of outputs from this important shaper of the regulatory landscape including Opinions, Guidelines, Recommendations and Working Documents as well as Annual Reports, Press Releases and Letters. This project has involved the work of several people over more than a year and we would particularly like to thank Martina Kunz for her recent sterling work in getting us to this point.

Turning to our information law resources more generally, our central European transnational law resource compromises the set of the travaux préparatoires or working papers which led to the European Union’s first information laws, the Data Protection Directive 95/46 and the Personal Data and Privacy in Telecommunications Directive 97/66/EC. In the case of both Data Protection Directive and the Telecommunication Directive we have included a detailed article-by-article index to full optical character recognised (OERed) bundle with cross-references to the comparator articles in the current cognate instruments, the General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 and the e-Privacy Directive 2002/58/EC. We have also produced a similar resource including an index covering the e-Commerce Directive 2000/31/EC. The overview page on European Data Protection and e-Privacy details how to explore the legislative history of newer EU information law instruments and also hosts a range of historic material from both the Council of Europe and what is now the European Union which are otherwise hard to locate.

Our focus on the historical development of the law is even more strongly reflected in our comparative law resources which provide the texts of 'first generation' (pre-Directive), 'second generation' (Directive-era) and 'third generation' (GDPR-era) data protection laws in all European Economic Area (EEA) countries, Switzerland and the UK.

Our principal specific resource in the area of rights conflict is a comprehensive series of Reports which explore data protection’s interaction with freedom of expression and information at both the pan-European and the national level and within each of the three generations of statutory data protection as well as within constitutional/primary law. These reports again cover all EEA countries, Switzerland and the UK and not only tabulate the relevant legal provisions but also summarise relevant parliamentary and other debates. The resource thereby provides vital background and a filling-out of the so-called household exemption, framework for special and other forms of freedom of expression and the specific rules for research, archiving and statistical purposes which are now grounded in articles 2(2)(c), 85, 89 and also 23 of the GDPR.

We hope that our in-depth transnational, comparative, historical and human rights materials complements the wealth of information law material which has and is being produced elsewhere and is of real value to those engaged in research and to the information law community more generally.