SYNOPSIS AND KEY POINT
Peter Hustinx, the ‘Supremo’ of EU data protection, describes a meeting with all the Directors-General of the European Commission who clearly had many misunderstandings and little idea of what data protection meant in practice for the Commission itself. They finally got his message about a foundation of “planning and control” and put in place the necessary implementation measures. “I had to reach out to the highest level to make them aware”. Results were scored and published in due course – and that visibility proved crucial. But data protection awareness also starts at the local level, for example in sports clubs and music associations. “Stories are key so that people can relate to what is involved. Pages of black letter law won’t do it. Awareness translated into real life – that’s what I think is really important.”
Peter Hustinx was the first European Data Protection Supervisor from January 2004 until December 2014. From 1991 until 2004, he was president of the Dutch Data Protection Authority, and from 1996 until 2000, he was also chairman of the EU’s Article 29 Working Party. He is currently a non-executive member of the ICO’s Management Board in the UK.
He has been closely involved in the development of data protection law from the start, both at national and various international levels. He received law degrees in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, and in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. In July 2015 he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Edinburgh for his work in the field of information privacy and data protection. Early 2015 he was appointed as a Member of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP). Since December 2017 he has also been a Member of the Board of Directors of the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) in Washington DC.