The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) recently released the Annual Report for 2015, reviewing last year’s European data protection activities, outlining goals for 2016 and highlighting the EDPS Strategy 2015-2019.

The EDPS spent a lot of effort advising EU legislators on new privacy rules that culminated in the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a “hugely significant reform” that “undoubtedly marks one of the EU’s greatest achievements in recent years,” according to the report. 

The EDPS didn’t confine itself to Europe, however. The report discusses the EDPS’s increased role at the international level, as it advised countries around the world and international institutions on data protection laws and promoted new digital ethics. 

The EDPS’s biggest international challenge, however, was working with the Article 29 Working Party on data transfer to the U.S. in the wake of the invalidation of U.S.-EU Safe Harbor in the Schrems decision, while also pressuring the EU Commission and Parliament to keep data protection out of the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

The EDPS also launched a variety of initiatives on topics ranging from ethics, online tracking, mobile applications, cloud computing, smart grids and intelligent transportation.

Looking ahead—or to the present—to 2016, the EDPS’s goal are pulled from the Strategy for 2015-2019. The EDPS will focus on implementing the GDPR, including providing guidance on the technical implementation of privacy by design, and helping EU institutions comply with the difficult task of explaining privacy policies in clear and simple language while also providing in-depth explanations to customers on topics such as business processes and re-identification.

The EDPS plans to remain engaged internationally by working with data protection authorities on applying EU data protection principles to international agreements, such as TTIP and the Trade in Services Agreement, and creating a global coalition to tackle challenges such as big data, the Internet of thing and mass surveillance.

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