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The Convention on the Protection of Personal Data needs to be modernised

In order to address developments in information and communication technologies, the PACE Legal Affairs Committee believes there is an urgent need to modernise the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (Convention 108).

At its meeting today in Paris, it therefore welcomed the preparation of a draft protocol amending Convention 108 and its explanatory report, having as its main aims to provide a response to the challenges arising from developments in new information and communication technologies and to enhance the implementation in practice of Convention 108.

In unanimously adopting a draft opinion based on a report by Raphael Comte (Switzerland, ALDE), members noted that over six years after the beginning of the modernisation process, “difficulties in reaching a consensus on certain provisions in the draft amending protocol persist”. These disagreements, in particular on the arrangements for the entry into force of the amending protocol, jeopardise the whole exercise and “risk causing the Council of Europe to no longer be the lead player in the field of the protection of personal data”.

On the optimistic assumption that an agreement is found by the end of 2017, the committee wishes the Committee of Ministers to open the amending protocol for signature as quickly as possible and urges member states to ratify it without delay.

If the disagreements persist, the committee believes that the Committee of Ministers should take due note and initiate without delay new negotiations for the prompt adoption of a new convention based on the draft amending protocol already approved by the ad hoc committee on data protection.

The draft opinion will be debated at the next PACE Standing Committee meeting in Copenhagen on 24 November 2017.