Elsa Mein

Chair of the Committee of Convention 108

A word from the Chair

The right to privacy and specifically the right of the individual with regard to the processing of their personal data are of fundamental importance in today’s digitised world. A person’s right to control his or her personal data and the processing of such data guarantee personal autonomy and protect a personal sphere in which personalities can be developed and opinions freely formed. The right to privacy and data protection is therefore essential - not only as such - but also for the exercise of other human rights and fundamental freedoms such as freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and association and freedom of religion.

First opened for signature over forty years ago, and modernised in 2018 by an Amending Protocol, the Convention 108 with its technology – neutral approach, continues to protect the individual in the digital age. A pioneer in the field, it is still the only binding international treaty specifically guaranteeing the right of individuals to data protection, which is open to any country fulfilling its requirements. As such, it offers a unique opportunity for a global standard in data protection.

As Chair, I am proud and honoured to represent a Committee, which brings together 55 state parties from four continents and over 40 observers committed to the evolution of data protection and promoting cooperation and multilateral exchange beyond regional borders.

Established by Convention 108, the Consultative Committee is composed of representatives of Parties to the Convention complemented by observers that include non-member States represented by their governments or data protection authorities, international organisations and non-governmental organisations. It is responsible for the interpretation of the provisions of the Convention and for facilitating and improving its implementation.

Curriculum Vitae

Elsa Mein has been working for the German Ministry of the Interior and Community for several years where she is responsible for European and international data protection law.

Before being elected as Chair in November 2022, she was a Bureau Member of the Consultative Committee of Convention 108 and the German representative in the Consultative Committee of Convention 108. In 2020, she was Co-Chair of the Working Party on Data Protection during the German EU - Council Presidency where she continues to be a member of the German delegation. In 2022, she was on a short-term secondment to the European Commission, DG Justice and Consumers, International data flows and protection unit.

Prior to her work in the German Government, she has worked at a German law firm in the field of data protection, and worked and taught at Freie Universität Berlin in the field of constitutional law and international public law as a research assistant. She studied law in Hamburg and Paris.