EDPS Giovanni Buttarelli, a guiding force behind GDPR, has passed away

Giovanni Buttarelli, the European Data Protection Supervisor, has passed away. EDPS Buttarelli was an important privacy thinker and strategist, and stands among the giants in privacy. He had a long and distinguished career prior to becoming the EDPS, including spending time as a judge in the Italian judiciary. But it is his work on Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation and his thoughts on the deeper ethical threads of data and its impact on human freedoms and autonomy that will be among his greatest legacies. 

“Giovanni was brilliant, kind, and of immeasurable importance to modern thinking around data, privacy, and ethics,” said WPF executive director Pam Dixon. “His passing is a great loss; if he were here, he would say to us that the legacy of thought which he has bequeathed to us, now it is our duty to carry it forward.” 

EDPS Buttarelli shaped the agenda for the 2018 International Privacy Conference, Debating Ethics: Dignity and Respect in Data Driven Life, Brussels, Belgium. His keynote  at the conference set forth ideas that will continue to be important for the foreseeable future.

The office of the EDPS has issued a statement regarding EDPS Buttarelli.

“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.”

Our thoughts and condolences are with EDPS Buttarelli’s family.

-Pam Dixon