The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) is an independent authority within the European Union, whose main responsibility is to ensure that EU institutions respect the right to privacy when they process personal data and develop new policies. Other functions of the authority include:
- hearing and investigating complaints regarding processing of data by EU institutions;
- advising EU institutions on matters concerning the processing of personal data, in particular with regard to draft EU legislation that has or might have privacy and data protection implications;
- monitoring relevant developments that have an impact on the protection of personal data, in particular the development of information and communication technologies;
- cooperating with the national supervisory authorities in EU member states.
In carrying out its activities, the EDPS also looks into matters related to privacy and data protection in the online environment. Since its creation, the authority has, for example, issued a large number of documents (reports, policy papers, factsheets, opinions, etc.) on issues such as: intrusive surveillance technologies, big data, new digital ethics, international data transfers, data retention, use of mobile devices, cloud computing, etc.