Data Protection Directive

What Does Data Protection Directive Mean?

The Data Protection Directive is a European law that regulates the use of personal data. As a legal standard and guideline, the Data Protection Directive sets various limits on the ways that personal data can be used by third parties. It has generally been replaced by the General Data Protection Regulations adopted in 2016, although the new law does not go into effect until 2018.


The Data Protection Directive is also known as the European Union Data Protection Directive.

Techopedia Explains Data Protection Directive

Some of the principles of the Data Protection Directive include the idea that people should be given notice when their data is collected, that consent systems should be provided and consent should exist, that collected data should be protected from theft or abuse, and that those individuals described by the data should have access to check and see whether any of the data is incorrect.

European law also adds other specific protections. For instance, the new European data protection laws create an “age of consent” for social media services including Facebook, where within the European Union, those under 16 years of age should get parental consent. Member countries may be able to lower the age of consent to 13. By contrast, in the United States, users over 13 years of age are able to use Facebook in fairly expansive ways.

The Data Protection Directive and laws like it show the philosophy of data privacy in the European Union, and how member countries are committed to protecting the private data of citizens.


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Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.