Draft law reforming the Data Protection Authority referred to the Council of State

Draft law reforming the Data Protection Authority referred to the Council of State
Credit: Belga

A bill to reform the Data Protection Authority (DPA), introduced by Secretary of State Mathieu Michel, has been referred to the Council of State at the request of the opposition. It was therefore not examined on its substance at the plenary session of the Chamber on Thursday.

The bill was originally scheduled for last week’s plenary session, but a note from the House’s legal services, requested by the opposition, caused the postponement of the general discussion and vote on it.

On Thursday, the opposition expressed surprise that an identical text had been re-tabled, despite the services’ remarks. According to the opposition, the new procedure for appointing directors is problematic, as an appointment procedure is already underway.

Mathieu Michel indicated that a transitional provision would avoid the problem, but legislators did not seem convinced. The opposition tabled new amendments and asked for them to be examined by the Council of State.

This text, described by the Secretary of State as “necessary and important,” aims to strengthen the functioning of the DPA, its independence and its capacity for expertise, according to Michel. It is part of a wider context of legislative reform aimed at ensuring a balance between innovation and privacy with “a supervisory authority able to enforce itself”.

The bill aims to transform the management committee into a collegiate body and to clarify its powers and functioning. It also aims to give the DPA more leeway in its internal functioning.

Further, the bill seeks to enshrine in law the unique competence of the DPA to exercise the missions and mandates of monitoring compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation.

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