Europe’s data protection supervisor, Giovanni Buttarelli, has died. His passing, at age 62, was announced by his office Wednesday, August 21 — which wrote:
“It is with the deepest regret that we announce the loss of Giovanni Buttarelli, the European Data Protection Supervisor. Giovanni passed away surrounded by his family in Italy, last night, 20 August 2019.
We are all profoundly saddened by this tragic loss of such a kind and brilliant individual. Throughout his life Giovanni dedicated himself completely to his family, to the service of the judiciary and the European Union and its values. His passion and intelligence will ensure an enduring and unique legacy for the institution of the EDPS and for all people whose lives were touched by him.
Buttarelli was appointed to the key oversight role monitoring the implementation of EU privacy rules for a five year term, starting in December 2014.
Among his achievements in the post was overseeing the transition to a new comprehensive data protection framework, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force last year — a shift of gear towards enforcement that has shone a global spotlight on the bloc’s approach to privacy at a time when the implications of not putting meaningful checks on data-mining giants are writ large across Western democracies.