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Legislation on personal data protection enters into effect

Directive 95/46/EC on the protection of personal data has entered into effect from 25 October 1998, with the aim of establishing a harmonised regulatory framework to ensure both a high level of protection for the privacy of individuals in all EU Member States and the free move...

Directive 95/46/EC on the protection of personal data has entered into effect from 25 October 1998, with the aim of establishing a harmonised regulatory framework to ensure both a high level of protection for the privacy of individuals in all EU Member States and the free movement of personal data within the EU. Provision is also made in the legislation to ensure that personal data is only transferred to countries outside the EU when its continued protection is guaranteed. Under the legislation the rights granted include: - The right to information from subsequent data users about where the data originated; - A right of access to personal data; - A right of rectification of personal data that is shown to be inaccurate; - The right to opt out of allowing personal data to be used in certain circumstances. In the case of sensitive data, the legislation establishes that such data can only be processed with the explicit consent of the individual, subject to a number of public interest exemptions. In the case where personal data is to be used exclusively for journalistic, artistic or literary purposes, the Directive requires the Member States to strike a balance between guaranteeing freedom of expression while protecting the individual's right to privacy. On the state of the implementation of the Directive, the European Commissioner for the single market, Mr Mario Monti, stressed that despite the fact that procedures for the implementation of the legislation had not yet been completed in certain Member States, the Directive would be applicable from 25 October 1998. He also stated that "The entry into effect of this Directive is good news for both individual citizens, who will enjoy safeguards concerning data held on them, and economic operators, who will benefit from the free flow of information and the boost to consumer confidence".

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