Beltug Opinion: restructure to give DPA a fighting chance
The Belgian Data Protection Authority (DPA) is in crisis, and the need to restructure is clear. This offers the political decision makers an opportunity to make fundamental and necessary changes to the functioning of the DPA, and to meet concrete needs.
26 / 01 / 22
Beltug has published an Opinion (available in Dutch and French) calling on the Government and the Federal Parliament to create a DPA that is both strong and practical.
The reform is aimed at enabling greater independence to the DPA, and to give it a structure that enables it to intervene decisively when necessary. Part of achieving this will certainly involve filling the serious gaps in personnel and resources currently hampering the DPA’s efforts.
But that is not all.
All of the documentation around data protection, from the GDPR itself, to the hundreds of pages published by the DPA and the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) are, in their essence, legal texts. This leaves them open to a certain amount of interpretation.
But companies and organisations want concrete instructions on how to implement these regulations in their day-to-day practices. After all, it isn’t only the big tech companies that are impacted by the laws: everyone from large multinationals, to SMEs, to one-person businesses must also follow the requirements.
- Beltug would like to see a stronger DPA, but one that supports companies and public institutions to properly apply the regulations.
- Furthermore, we would like to see a DPA that is more responsive to the questions and concerns of these companies and public institutions. Currently, delays for responses are both unpredictable and often too long.
- Inspections as well could be carried out with more transparency. On the one hand, the questionnaires the companies must fill out are often very long, and have very short deadlines. On the other hand, they then wait months and months for their file to be treated. Months during which they have absolutely no feedback that could enable them to improve during the meantime.
Everyone deserves a Data Protection Authority with the capacity to support the digitisation of society. We hope the decision makers will ensure that the DPA has the necessary resources, the right structure and a framework that will take privacy and data protection in our country to a higher level.