EDPS Annual Report 2020
On 19 April 2021, Wojciech Wiewiórowski, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), presented his Annual Report 2020. It focuses on the functioning of the EDPS and the challenges if is facing during the pandemic. In the latter context, the EDPS established an internal COVID-19 task force to actively monitor and assess governmental and private sector responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. The report stressed that, despite the pandemic and even though all core activities were performed remotely, the EDPS was able to maintain a strong oversight of the EU institutions, agencies, and bodies (EUIs) as regards the processing of individuals’ personal data (e.g., EDPS investigation into EUIs’ use of Microsoft products and services and EDPS investigation on the European Parliament’s Wi-Fi).
In order to ensure that ongoing international transfers are carried out in accordance with EU data protection law, the EDPS published its Strategy for EUIs to comply with the “Schrems II” ruling following the CJEU judgment of 16 July 2020 (→ eucrim 2/2020, 98-99). In 2020, the EDPS also issued a considerable number of opinions, e.g.:
– Opinion on a proposal for temporary derogations from the ePrivacy directive for the purpose of combatting child sexual abuse online;
– Opinion on the New Pact on Migration and Asylum.
The EDPS stressed that it continued its effort to monitor technologies (such as artificial intelligence and facial recognition) in 2020 and to promote understanding about the impact of the design, deployment, and evolution of digital technology upon the fundamental rights to privacy and data protection. To strengthen cooperation between the EDPS and the EDPB, the EDPS proposed the establishment of a Support Pool of Experts (SPE) within the EDPB. The pandemic and the acceleration of digitalisation in individuals’ daily lives has demonstrated the importance of an EDPS presence online in order to fully connect with the relevant target groups.