07/06/2020 Christos Dimopoulos

Upgrading the EU Data Protection Sector with new Skills – The DataPro Erasmus+ project

On the 5th of June 2020, CERIDES met virtually with the DataPRO Consortium to discuss the current status of the project and share relevant findings and results achieved so far.

The DataPro Erasmus+ Project started in 2018 with the aim to establish a common European framework on technical skills, knowledge and competences in data protection sector narrowing at the same time the differences emerging at business levels in terms of data protection and certification systems.

Following the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2016/679, DataPro’s Partners recognised the need for a specific occupation profile in the domain of data protection and GDPR compliance and decided to exploit the Regulation as a new and unexplored employability opportunity.

Despite the current circumstances and the difficulties that arose from lockdown measures, the Consortium shown great resilience and has been able to comply with the original schedules as foreseen during project proposal – such commitment allowed a regular implementation of all activities and assured for the expected results in time.

During the meeting and after an in-depth briefing on the current status of the project, Partners had the opportunity to discuss the strong implications that COVID-19 official tracking tools might have regarding the objectives and general contents of the project.

The latest news coming from EU official sources and portals highlight IT tools and digital technologies as a unique mean to support public health authorities at national and EU level in monitoring COVID-19 current spreading. A growing number of countries within the EU territory as worldwide, is adopting and implementing mobile apps that provide direct guidance to citizens or local authorities to track in real time the infection status in their areas allowing them to take the right prevention measures.

On the 16th of April, the EU commission gave a significant boost to such approach encouraging among EU citizens the exploitation of a “Toolbox” – coordinated at EU level – to use mobile apps to further limit the propagation of the COVID-19 virus[1].

Just few days after the publishing of the EU Commission’s guidance on mobile apps as a key mean to fight COVID-19, during a plenary debate the EU Parliament stressed the need for a full compliance of these innovative measures with data protection and policy legislation.

Even if totally legitimate, these digital tracking measures might still face the risk to be exploited for different purposes from the ones originally intended, that is why MEPs urged to avoid any geolocation-based app preferring contact-tracing apps based on short-range technologies (i.e. Bluetooth).

The guidelines and toolbox for developing any Covid-19 related apps, prepared by the Commission in cooperation with member states, European Data Protection Supervisor, and European Data Protection Board aim at guaranteeing sufficient protection of data and limiting intrusiveness[2] guarding EU citizens from both perspectives.

CERIDES – Partner in the consortium is responsible to preparation a Joint Occupational Profile that is going to cover EU needs for Data Protection, not only at a business level but also at an Institutional Level.  Secondly to design, two Joint DPOs VET curricula, engaging targeted in-business training and awareness raising in Data Protection, linking DPOs with the business environment. Currently we are on the third pillar of the preparation of a strong Work Based Learning Scheme that will provide adequate experience to DPOs, allowing better transition from the current state of play, where Data Breaches and wrongdoings in Data Protection are mostly common practice, to a new era, where Data Protection will be enrolled into Businesses Main Operations and both DPOs and Employees are going to ensure Data Protection.

DataPRO is led by the Union of Hellenic Chambers of Commerce of Greece and is implemented by a Consortium of 10 partners from 4 European countries (Greece, Belgium, Cyprus and Germany) and it is cofounded by the Erasmus+ Programme.

For further information about the project, please visit the official website at https://datapro-project.eu/site/

y.danidou@euc.ac.cy

www.cerides.euc.ac.cy

https://www.facebook.com/cerides

[1] COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION. Guidance on Apps supporting the fight against COVID 19 pandemic in relation to data protection – EU Commission, 2020
Source: https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/5_en_act_part1_v3.pdf

[2] Covid-19 tracing apps: ensuring privacy and data protection. News: EU Parliament, 2020
Source: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/society/20200429STO78174/covid-19-tracing-apps-ensuring-privacy-and-data-protection