The Internet has made the access and exchange of information – including personal data – easier and faster than ever. Individuals are providing their personal data online, knowingly and sometimes unknowingly for many different purposes, such as purchasing goods and services, playing, e-learning or paying taxes.
Social interactions are also increasingly taking place over the net – for example in social platforms, creating new opportunities, but also risks to privacy. The frontierless nature of the Internet, which enables the free flow of data across countries, also brings new challenges.
Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data
In 1981 the Council of Europe adopted the first international treaty to address the right of individuals to the protection of their personal data: the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data, known as “Convention 108”.
The treaty was drafted in a technologically neutral style, which enables its provisions to be fully valid today, regardless of technological developments. To ensure that its data protection principles are still adapted to new tools and new practices, the text is currently being updated. To this day, it still remains the only legally binding international instrument with a worldwide scope of application, open to any country, and with the potential to become a global standard.
- protection of human rights with regard to social networking services (2013);
- protection of human rights with regard to search engines (2013);
- profiling (2010);
- privacy on the Internet (1999);
- personal data collected and processed for statistical purposes (1997);
- medical and genetic data (1997);
- personal data in the area of telecommunication services, telephone in particular (1995);
- communication to third parties of personal data held by public bodies (1991);
- payments and other related operations (1990);
- data used for employment purposes (1989);
- police files (1987);
- social security (1986);
- direct marketing (1985);
- scientific research and statistics (1983);
- automated medical data banks (1981).