The CNIL’s new Chairwoman, Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, presents her priorities, both in French and in English in a video posted online, that can be viewed here.
Ms. Falque-Pierrotin was elected on September 21st, 2011, after CNIL’s previous Chairman, Mr. Alex Türk, who was also a member of the French Senate, proactively resigned to comply with a recent legal provision that will soon prohibit the CNIL’s Chairman from holding any other elected office or public position.
In the video, the new boss of the French data protection regulator stresses that in an evolving and global environment, CNIL must innovate and become more open to resolutely step into the digital world. She firmly believes that cooperation with the private sector is important and thinks “the EU revision [of the data protection framework] will be a wonderful occasion to demonstrate that we are able to have a competitive protection but also a modernized protection” of personal data.
Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin is no stranger to the CNIL as she has been one of its members since January 2004 and its Vice-President since February 2009.
Ms. Falque-Pierrotin notably graduated from HEC (Paris Business School) and ENA (school for senior civil servants). She previously worked for the Conseil d’État (French Council of State) and the Ministry for Culture. She also was president of the interministerial commission on Internet in 1996, expert adviser to the OECD on the development of cooperation on the Internet in 1997 and general rapporteur of the report of the French Council of State on Internet & Digital Networks presented in 1998, before chairing the executive board of the Forum des droits sur l’internet (Internet Rights Forum) since 2001.
About the CNIL
The “Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés” (CNIL) is the French data protection authority responsible for ensuring that information technology remains at the service of citizens, and does not jeopardize human identity or breach human rights, privacy or individual or public liberties. The Commission fulfills its duties in pursuance of the Data Protection Act of January 6, 1978.
The CNIL is an independent administrative authority, composed of 17 commissioners, each of them in charge of monitoring a dedicated sector of activities. It does not report to any authority. Neither ministers, nor public authorities, nor private or public corporate officers may oppose the CNIL’s action. The CNIL elects its Chairman among its members. The CNIL Chairperson is responsible for allocating the Commissioners’ duties and has full liberty to hire CNIL employees, who are State civil servants.
The CNIL is entrusted with five main duties: to inform, guarantee rights of access, inventory data files, verify and regulate.
In 2010, the CNIL:
– Issued 1,569 statements and decisions, 3 warnings, 111 notices to comply;
– Conducted 308 inspections;
– Pronounced 5 financial sanctions (i.e., €32,500 in fines);
– Recorded the notification of 71,410 processing operations;
– 4,821 complaints (primarily in the following sectors: Banking & Credit; Marketing; Internet/Telecom; Labor)
– 1, 877 requests for indirect access.