People´s personal data are being processed every second – at work, in their relations with public authorities, in the health field, when they buy goods or services, travel or surf the internet. Individuals are generally unfamiliar with the risks related to the protection of their personal data and of their rights in this respect. They are seldom aware of what they can do if they consider that their rights have been breached, or of the role of national data protection agencies.

On 26 April 2006 the Council of Europe decided to launch a Data Protection Day to be celebrated each year on 28 January, the date on which the Council of Europe’s data protection convention, known as “Convention 108”, was opened for signature. Data Protection Day is now celebrated globally and is called Privacy Day outside Europe.

On this date, governments, parliaments, national data protection bodies and other actors carry out activities to raise awareness about the rights to personal data protection and privacy. These may include campaigns targeting the general public, educational projects for teachers and students, open doors at data protection agencies and conferences.

Brussels conference marks Data Protection Day

To mark the 18th International Data Protection Day, celebrated every year on 28 January, the Council of Europe is co-organising with the European Union Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) and the Computers, Privacy and Data Protection (CDPD) a one-day conference in Brussels on 25 January to take stock of the past and the future of data protection.

The event will address the positive impact that the entry into force of the Amending Protocol, modernising the Council of Europe´s 1981 data protection "Convention 108", can have on global data flows and the protection of data subjects. The Amending Protocol has been ratified by 31 states and is expected to enter into force in 2024 once it reaches 38 ratifications. It will also be an occasion to raise awareness of the upcoming new Framework Convention on Artificial Intelligence, currently being negotiated by the Council of Europe, and its importance for shaping the development, use and deployment of AI systems globally.

The conference brings together policy makers and practitioners to discuss current projects, challenges and how best to join forces to enhance personal data protection. Opening speakers include Patrick Penninckx, Head of Digital Development and Governance Department of the Council of Europe, Wojciech Wiewiórowski, European Data Protection Supervisor, and Paul de Hert, Full Professor at Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

 Conference website

Council of Europe Brussels 25 january 2024
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Video of the panel organised by the Council of Europe “Convention 108: convergence and expansion” at the 11th Edition of the “Computers, Privacy and Data Protection” international conference (CPDP) [January 2018]

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Rights of internet users

The Council of Europe has created a guide for internet users to help them better understand their human rights online and what they can do when these rights are challenged.

Generally, these rights are set out in the terms of service of internet companies, which are mostly lengthy legal contractual conditions which are seldom read and even more seldom fully understood.


Handbook on European data protection law

The aim of this handbook is to raise awareness and improve knowledge of data protection rules in European Union and Council of Europe member states by serving as the main point of reference to which readers can turn.

It is designed for non-specialist legal professionals, judges, national data protection authorities and other persons working in the field of data protection. (more...)


This short film highlights the dangers posed by those who wish to illegally obtain private data.

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What is the right to privacy and how is it protected under the European Convention on Human Rights?
See some example cases of how the ECHR acts to secure your privacy rights, including data and information privacy.

Reference texts

Convention for the Protection of Personal Data (No. 108)

Additional Protocol regarding supervisory authorities and transborder data flows (No. 181)

Modernised Convention for the Protection of Individuals with Regard to the Processing of Personal Data