The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) withstood the challenge of the coronavirus crisis by being sufficiently flexible during the pandemic, says Marie-Laure Denis, president of French data watchdog CNIL.

“The year 2020 has put the GDPR to the test, bringing to the fore in the public debate many points of tension likely to shift perceptions and concerns about personal data and privacy,” she was quoted as saying in CNIL’s 2020 activity report by the online Euractiv news service.

The use of digital technology for contact tracing and other counter-coronavirus measures has raised concerns about privacy and misuse of information.

Denis also noted the pandemic has accelerated the use of digital technology.

She welcomed the 62.5% increase in complaints people made related to digital rights, compared with 2018 when GDPR came into effect.

CNIL has three major projects this year including a focus on cyber security after a 24% rise in data breach notifications last year to 2,825 compared with the previous 12 months.

“There can be no data protection without cyber security and we must continue to develop practices for a trusted digital society,” the activity report stressed.

In addition, the authority says it intends to strengthen controls to ensure companies comply with their cookie policies along with more transparency for users and for it be as easy to withdraw consent as to give it.

The data watchdog also plans to participate in a national initiative for a “sovereign and trusted” cloud to host data and protect itself from extraterritorial risks.

“This is the best protection against overly intrusive foreign legislation and this ambition is not limited to health data,” CNIL said.


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