The Privacy Act

The Privacy Act is the Act of 8 December 1992 on the protection of privacy in relation to the processing of personal data. This Act aims to protect individuals against abuse of their personal data. The rights and obligations of the individuals whose data are processed, as well as the rights and obligations of those processing the data have been established by the Privacy Act.

With the Privacy Act, an independent supervisory authority was also established: the Commission for the Protection of Privacy (also known as "the Privacy Commission", the Belgian Data Protection Authority). On the basis of the Privacy Act, the Commission, as an independent body, ensures that personal data are used and protected with due care, so that citizens' privacy remains safeguarded.

The Act of 8 December 1992 on the protection of privacy in relation to the processing of personal data has undergone several substantial modifications.

The first modification was the result of the adoption of a European directive, aiming at a harmonisation of the rules concerning personal data protection in the entire European Union. Consequently, Belgium, like all other member states, had to transpose this directive into Belgian law. That is why the Act of 8 December 1992 was modified by the Act of 11 December 1998.

The Belgian legislator also substantially modified the Act. This second modification of the Privacy Act was essential to keep abreast of the rapid evolution of our computerised society. Not only do citizens appeal more frequently to the Privacy Commission, but more and more often the authorities also ask the Privacy Commission for an opinion about more specialized matters, since every specific sector requires specific expertise. With the Act of 26 February 2003 the Privacy Commission's statute, composition and competences were adapted and the Sector Committees were established.

The "Zentrale Dienststelle für Deutsche Übersetzungen beim Beigeordneten Bezirkskommissariat in Malmedy" has provided for an unofficial German translation of the Privacy Act.