The CNIL’s Missions

Information & Rights protection

The CNIL responds to requests from individuals and professionals. It carries out actions of communication with the general public and professionals, whether through its networks, the press, its website, its presence on social networks or by providing educational tools.

Any person may contact the CNIL in the event of difficulty in exercising their rights.


Informing and protecting - 2020 figures

Compliance support & Guidance

In order to help private and public organizations to comply with the RGPD, the CNIL offers a complete toolbox adapted to their size and needs.

The CNIL ensures that they find solutions that allow them to pursue their legitimate objectives in strict compliance with the rights and freedoms of individuals.

Accompanying compliance - 2020 figures

Anticipation & Innovation

In order to detect and analyze technologies or new uses that could have a significant on impact on privacy, the CNIL maintains a dedicated watch.

It contributes to the development of technological solutions that protect privacy by advising companies as early as possible in the process, with a view to privacy by design.


Anticipating and innovating - 2020 figures

Investigations & sanctions

The control allows the CNIL to verify the compliance to the law.

It can impose on a data controller to regularize its processing (formal notice) or impose sanctions (fine, etc.).

Investigating and issuing sanctions - 2020 figures

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.

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

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

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 purpose of the January 6, 1978 Act creating the “Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés” (CNIL).

Document reference

Facts and figures

Keywords associated to this article