On 19 October 2023, Ambassador Harry Alex Rusz, Permanent Representative of Hungary to the Council of Europe deposited the instrument of ratification of the Amending Protocol to the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to the Processing of Personal Data.
Initially established in 1981, Convention 108 stood as a groundbreaking treaty focused on safeguarding individuals' rights concerning the automatic processing of their personal data. The merit of the 1981 Convention is that it is the first international legal instrument to include the right to the protection of personal data, derived from, but independent of, the right to privacy, and the most binding international legal standard on data protection with the largest territorial scope to date. However, as technology evolved and the digital landscape expanded exponentially, a modernized framework was needed to address new challenges. Thus, Convention 108+ emerged, aiming to fortify data protection practices in today's complex environment, reflecting the challenges of the digital age while respecting the principles and strengthening the monitoring mechanism of the Convention.
At its core, Convention 108+ revolves around a set of fundamental principles governing the handling of personal data. These principles emphasize legality, fairness, transparency, and accountability in the collection, storage, and usage of individuals' information. Moreover, it champions the rights of individuals, granting them access to their data, the ability to rectify inaccuracies, and the power to request data erasure. Recognizing the global nature of data flows, the convention also tackles cross-border data transfers. It stresses the importance of stringent safeguards to ensure that personal data remains protected when transmitted across international boundaries.
Central to the implementation of Convention 108+ are independent supervisory authorities. These entities play a pivotal role in upholding data protection laws, monitoring compliance, and ensuring that organizations handling personal data adhere to the stipulated regulations. In essence, Convention 108+ serves as a beacon of modern data protection principles, striving to maintain a delicate equilibrium between technological progress and individual privacy, fostering trust and confidence in the digital sphere.
Hungary, an active participant in Convention 108 since 1998, has now become the 30th State Party to join the modernized Convention 108+. This commitment underscores Hungary's dedication to upholding data protection standards in line with contemporary needs. Hungary's proactive support for this landmark instrument significantly contributes to expediting the ratification process among State Parties to the Convention. Notably, there have been ten more ratifications and two additional signatures since the beginning of 2023. With this momentum, the Convention edges closer to its entry into force, as the minimum threshold required for it to become operational is 38 ratifications.