Madrid, 26 January 2021 – Access Info has called on the Spanish government to guarantee a transparent, merit-based process for selection of the head and deputy head of the Spanish Data Protection Agency.

Concerns about this process have arisen after allegations surfaced that the two principal political parties (the PSOE and PP) had reached an agreement on who would get the posts (a governing PSOE candidate for the position of President, an opposition PP candidate for the Deputy President position).

This brought a warning from the European Data Protection Supervisor Wojciech Wiewiórowski, who told El País newspaper that “the EU might intervene in the event that the candidates agreed by the PSOE and PP are finally elected” adding that “political influence on data protection authorities has increased in some countries in recent years. This is usually extremely dangerous.”

Thus far the process has been conducted in line with the rules set down in Spanish law (the Organic Law 3/2018, on Personal Data Protection and the Guarantee of Digital Rights), which clearly establishes a merit-based selection by an expert committee following an open call. This committee was established in November 2021 and has published the initial selection of candidates.[1]

Access Info is now urging the government to ensure transparency of the report that it will submit to the Parliament, and to ensure that the hearings held by the Parliament’s Justice Committee are open and that the candidates are selected upon merit.

Given the concerns hanging over this process, it is particularly important that there be full transparency around the next steps,” commented Helen Darbishire, Executive Director of Access Info Europe.

It is imperative that the Spanish public can be confident that the persons overseeing protection of their personal data are the best qualified candidates and that they have been chosen on grounds of merit and are not beholden to any political party,” concluded Darbishire.

Notes for Editors

[1] See here for full information [in Spanish] about the process to date

For more information, please contact:

Helen Darbishire, Executive Director | Access Info Europe
Telephone: +34 667 685 319

Patricia González, Legal Researcher and Campaigner | Access Info Europe
Telephone: +34 913 656 558