The CNIL’s facts and numbers

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Advice and Regulation

  • 3 078 Adopted decisions and deliberations
  • 190 Authorisations
  • 145 Opinions
  • 1 976 Transfer authorisations
  • 54 000 simplified formalities 

Compliance Monitoring

  • 102 629 Formality files
  • 97 Privacy seals delivered 
  • 14 734 Declarations processed regarding video surveillance systems
  • 316 Biometric system authorisations
  • 17 725 Organisations have appointed a data propotection officer
  • 7  370 Declarations processed regarding geolocation devices


Protecting citizens

  • 7 703 Complaints (33% relate to prospecting)
  • 410 Complaints following the refusal of a request to be de-listed by search engines
  • 4 379 Requests for access to police files, surveillence files, FICOBA, etc.
  • 7 909 Inspections carried out

Rendering orders and issuing sanctions

  • 82 Orders rendered
  • 13 Sanctions issued : 
    • 9 warnings
    • 4 financial sanctions 



  • 430 Investigations
  • 100 Online investigations
  • 94 Investigations regarding video surveillance

The CNIL workforce

  • 195 Jobs
  • 63 % female
  • 37 % male

The CNIL supports the development of new technologies on a daily basis and takes part in the construction of a digital ethic.

Beyond raising awareness and sharing information on data protection culture, the CNIL has an advisory power, an onsite and offsite investigatory power as well as an administrative sanctioning power.

It has established and coordinates the network of Data Protection Officers (also known as the “ Correspondants Informatiques et Libertés”).

The CNIL analyses the consequences of new technologies on citizens’ private life.

Finally, it collaborates closely with its European and international counterparts.

What is personal data?

Personal data is any information concerning a natural person that can directly or indirectly, potentially identify by referencing an identification number (i.e., social security number) or one or more elements that only concern a single person (i.e., first and surname, date of birth, biometric elements, digital imprint, DNA, etc.).

A bit of History...

Back in the seventies, the French Government announced a plan designed to identify each citizen with a specific number and, using that unique identifier, to interconnect all government records.

This plan, known as SAFARI, led to great controversy in the public opinion. It underlined the dangers inherent to certain uses of information technology and aroused fears that the entire French population would soon be recorded in files. This fear led the Government to set up a commission mandated to recommend concrete measures intended to guarantee that any developments in information technology would remain respectful of privacy, individual rights and public liberties.

After broad debates and public consultation, this “Commission on Information Technology and Liberties” recommended that an independent oversight authority be set up. Such was the purpos of the January 6, 1978 Act creating the “Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés” (CNIL).