© 2014

The Emergence of Personal Data Protection as a Fundamental Right of the EU


Part of the Law, Governance and Technology Series book series (LGTS, volume 16)

Also part of the Issues in Privacy and Data Protection book sub series (ISDP, volume 16)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvi
  2. Gloria González Fuster
    Pages 1-18
  3. Before the European Union

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 19-19
  4. In the European Union

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 109-109
    2. Gloria González Fuster
      Pages 111-162
    3. Gloria González Fuster
      Pages 163-212
    4. Gloria González Fuster
      Pages 213-252
    5. Gloria González Fuster
      Pages 253-274

About this book


This book explores the coming into being in European Union (EU) law of the fundamental right to personal data protection. Approaching legal evolution through the lens of law as text, it unearths the steps that led to the emergence of this new right. It throws light on the right’s significance, and reveals the intricacies of its relationship with privacy.

The right to personal data protection is now officially recognised as a EU fundamental right. As such, it is expected to play a critical role in the future European personal data protection legal landscape, seemingly displacing the right to privacy. This volume is based on the premise that an accurate understanding of the right’s emergence is crucial to ensure its correct interpretation and development.

Key questions addressed include: How did the new right surface in EU law? How could the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights claim to render ‘more visible’ an invisible right? And how did EU law allow for the creation of a new right while ensuring consistency with existing legal instruments and case law?

The book first investigates the roots of personal data protection, studying the redefinition of privacy in the United States in the 1960s, as well as pioneering developments in European countries and in international organisations. It then analyses the EU’s involvement since the 1970s up to the introduction of legislative proposals in 2012. It grants particular attention to changes triggered in law by language and, specifically, by the coexistence of languages and legal systems that determine meaning in EU law. Embracing simultaneously EU law’s multilingualism and the challenging notion of the untranslatability of words, this work opens up an inspiring way of understanding legal change.     

This book will appeal to legal scholars, policy makers, legal practitioners, privacy and personal data protection activists, and philosophers of law, as well as, more generally, anyone interested in how law works. 


1967 Nordic COnference on Privacy Computer utilisation group Computers and privacy Counil of European and convention 108 Data bank panel Data protection as a fundamental right ECHR - European Court of Human Rights EU And Fundamental Rights EU Data Protection EU Fundamental Right To The Protection Of Personal Data European Court Of Human Rights European and International Privacy Fair Information Principles Free flow of personal data Mapping Privacies Materialisation of data protection OECD guidleines Personal Data Protection Privacy Act Privacy And Personal Data Protection Privacy And The Protection Of Personal Data Privacy As (Insufficiently) Protected By Echr Right to privacy US privacy before computers United Kingdom and Privacy

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Law, Science, Technology and Society (LSTS)Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)BrusselsBelgium

Bibliographic information


“Fuster’s book provides a compendious elucidation of the history of European data protection … . Such a comprehensive perspective in a medium-length monograph will undoubtedly be of enormous benefit to both researchers and advanced students of data protection. … It tackles an extremely important issue, is meticulously researched, and is genuinely thought-provoking and enlightening. It will constitute an essential point of reference in the growing field of data-protection scholarship for many years to come.” (David Erdos, The Cambridge Law Journal, Vol. 74, July, 2015)