Accountability is crucial for effective protection of privacy

We need to understand and apply accountability – it is a global standard with great advantages for organisations and regulators. By Christopher Docksey, Honorary Director-General at the EDPS.

The principle of accountability means much more than simple compliance with legal requirements. Its key elements can be described as actively developing, demonstrating, and being able to demonstrate, compliance.

The recognition of accountability as a key concept has developed over many years in national and international law. It has been enshrined in the OECD Guidelines, the Madrid Resolution, the GDPR and Modernised Convention 108. It has also been the subject of influential guidelines by ­regulators across the world.
As a result, accountability is now a global standard. But it needs both legislation and explanation to be fully effective. It must be in the law - accountability is not self-regulation - and it has to be backed up by effective guidance.

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