European Data Protection Supervisor
- Giovanni Buttarelli, the European Data Protection Supervisor, has died at the age of 62.
- Buttarelli was instrumental in overseeing the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe.
- Apple CEO Tim Cook was among those who mourned his death. "Giovanni was a great man, and we are forever in his debt," Cook said.
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Apple CEO Tim Cook is among those mourning the surprising death of Giovanni Buttarelli, the European Data Protection Supervisor.
Buttarelli, 62, was instrumental in overseeing the introduction of General Data Protection Regulation (or GDPR as it is better known) in Europe last year — laws which look set to reshape the way countries around the world approach privacy.
His death was announced by his office on Wednesday. In a statement, it said:
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.
Buttarelli was among the European officials to welcome Cook to Brussels last year. Cook gave a fiery speech, in which he attacked tech firms like Facebook and Google for hoarding "industrial" amounts of personal data.
Cook tweeted a picture of Buttarelli on Wednesday, saying: "Heartbroken by the loss of my friend Giovanni Buttarelli, a visionary who advanced the cause of privacy in Europe and around the world. Our thoughts are with his family and all who loved him. Giovanni was a great man, and we are forever in his debt."
Buttarelli, who took up his post as European Data Protection Supervisor in 2014, spoke to Business Insider last year about his concerns around how big tech firms were handling GDPR. He did not name names, but said Silicon Valley companies were "blackmailing" users into agreeing to new data terms ahead of the introduction of the laws.
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