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EIT Digital

Privacy in Europe

EIT Digital via Coursera


Explore the intricacies of European privacy law in this focused course, designed as a follow-up to "Privacy in the Western World." This course places a strong focus on the European legal framework, which bases its privacy protection on seminal human rights treaties such as the UN Declaration on Human Rights. You'll gain insights into the historical context that shaped Europe's approach to privacy, beginning with economic cooperation initiatives set up to prevent another conflict after the devastating effects of World War II. As you progress, you'll learn how this cooperative framework expanded to address critical issues, including the paramount importance of respecting human rights and, increasingly, the protection of individual privacy—a subject that has attracted substantial global attention. Dive into the legal elements that have played a key role in formalizing the notion of privacy and its legal protection. Specifically, you will examine the rules governing the exchange of personal data between the USA and Europe and delve into the foundational legal components that make up the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Upon completing this course, you'll have a thorough understanding of both the key legal elements and the historical context that led to the development of privacy protection in Europe. Ready to expand your knowledge and become proficient in European privacy law? Enroll now to ensure you don't miss this opportunity.


  • Human rights and Economic Cooperation in Europe
    • European privacy protection is based upon human rights treaties, both on a European level as well global level such as, e.g. the UN Declaration on Human Rights. First we deal with how the European cooperation came into being after the devastating effects of World War II. Economic cooperation was deemed necessary to prevent another war. From economic cooperation other issues became part of the negotiations, and to this day more and more policy fields have become part of the European cooperation.
  • European Legal system
    • This European Legal system is based on ancient Roman Law and as such one of the oldest in the world. This module focuses on the privacy aspects of the European Legal System and explains some of its history, its first legislation on data protection and privacy and their link to human rights. Finally the enforcement institutes and their role are discussed.
  • Case Law
    • European privacy law was and continues to be shaped by rulings and judgements by national and European courts. We travel through the historically most impactful cases , trending from the human rights aspect towards the complete data protection nowadays.
  • GDPR Main Elements
    • Nowadays privacy and data in Europe is protected by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). All previous treaties, directives and regulations have led towards this regulation. As a result the GDPR is very comprehensive. This module will introduce the principles the regulation is based on and discuss most of its main elements. As one of the most progressive piece of legislation globablly it inspires other law makers to apply similar approaches in their legal system. The Californian State for example in 2020.
  • Individual Rights
    • One of the unique approaches the GDPR takes is the rights it gives individuals to protect their data. We shortly introduce each of them, providing you with the framework of the European privacy protection.
  • Additional Reading
    • This module is entirely dedicated to delve deeper in the subject of data protection and privacy. We provide you with additional reading material that will not be graded or required in the final examination. However we strongly advise you to scan or read through this module not only help you gain a better understanding of data protection law but also form a independent opinion on the subject.
  • Examination
    • The final quiz and opportunity for you to demonstrate that you mastered the content of this course. Good luck!

Taught by

Jan Smits


4.7 rating, based on 3 Class Central reviews

4.4 rating at Coursera based on 88 ratings

Start your review of Privacy in Europe

  • Brilliant course. Could still get better with a more balanced Reading & Video mix. Europe stands at the forefront of global privacy standards, as demonstrated by the pioneering General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The recent course I completed…
  • Anonymous
    This was such an amzing course. This can quickly make you uptodate with GDPR and privacy laws in europe.
  • Anonymous
    A very good and structured μάθημα. You can finish it very quikly from your home but It needs to know or to have basic level of law -or IR studies. Also it is open so i am sure that is approachable from anyone that has will to learn.

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