General data protection and prevention of money laundering

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On 15 December 2020, the European Data Protection Board took sides following the adoption by the European Commission of an Action plan for the EU global policy on preventing money laundering and terrorist financing, provided for 2021.

According to the European Board, the update of the specific regulation is an opportunity to analyse the interaction between personal data protection and anti-money laundering measures.

A closer articulation between the two sets of rules would benefit both the protection of personal data and the efficiency of the AML framework. In this respect, the EDPB reiterated the need for a clear legal basis for the processing of personal data and stating the purposes and the limits of such processing, in particular regarding information sharing and international transfers of data.

Moreover, the EDPB considers it as a matter of the utmost importance that the anti-money laundering measures are compatible with:

  • the rights to privacy and data protection enshrined in Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union;
  • the principles of necessity of such measures in a democratic society and their proportionality; and
  • the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union.