European Privacy and Human Rights

European Privacy and Human Rights (EPHR)

European Privacy and Human Rights (EPHR) was a year-long research and awareness-raising project by Privacy International, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and the Center for Media and Communications Studies (CMCS). It was launched in February 2010 and resulted in the publication of a landmark EU-wide study of national privacy safeguards in January 2011. The project was funded by the European Commission’s Special Programme "Fundamental Rights and Citizenship".

The project made accurate and in-depth information about the state of European privacy legal frameworks and recent developments available to experts, policy makers and the wider public. Each country report was also translated in the languages of the countries in question. Several videos were produced as part of the  project to illustrate the importance and pitfalls of privacy in the digital age, such as Data

The research findings, backed by a 600-page analysis of privacy in 31 countries, showed a decline in privacy protection across Europe and a steep increase in state surveillance over the lives of individuals.

Read more about the research findings.

The EPHR project comprised three action areas:

  1. to map European privacy laws and recent developments as well as summarise the trends in the light of the right to privacy;
  2. to disseminate information and publish it on multiple online and offline platforms; and
  3. to develop innovative awareness-raising campaigns, to be launched at the European Data Protection Day on 28th January 2011.

The EPHR project built upon the EPIC publication Privacy & Human Rights: An International Survey of Privacy Laws and Developments, which is the most authoritative reference on privacy regulations and developments worldwide. The following activities are the continuation of EPIC’s successful work.

CMCS established a European hub to coordinate input and updates, created a reliable network of country contributors, and maintained or improved the quality of analysis of each EU country report from all 27 EU Member States, the EU itself, the ECTA countries, and EU accession candidate countries. Privacy International relied on this country information as background for its privacy ranking for all EU countries.  The CMCS study team was coordinated by Prof. Kristina Irion and consisted of consisted of Kristina, Matteo Bonfanti and Cédric Laurant.

About the organisations

Privacy International (PI) is a human rights group formed in 1990 as a watchdog on surveillance and privacy invasions by governments and corporations. PI is based in London, England, and has an office in Washington, D.C. We have campaigned across the world to protect people against intrusion by governments and corporations that seek to erode this fragile right.

The Center for Media and Communications Studies (CMCS) is a research center at the Central European University (CEU) focused on advancing media and communication scholarship throughout Central and Eastern Europe and beyond. It produces scholarly and practice-oriented research addressing academic, policy and civil society needs.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) is a public interest research center in Washington, D.C. EPIC was established in 1994 to focus public attention on emerging privacy and civil liberties issues and currently maintains two of the most popular web sites in the world – and