Before joining the EDPS, Buttarelli worked as Secretary General of the Garante per la protezione dei dati personali, the Italian Data Protection Authority, between 1997 and 2009.
Giovanni Buttarelli was born in 1957 in Frascati, a little town near Rome. He graduated “cum laude” from La Sapienza University in Rome in 1984, where he also worked as a teaching assistant at the Faculty of Law. Specifically, he worked with Prof. Franco Cordero on Criminal Procedure until 1990. He was appointed as a Professor at the Faculty of Law at Lumsa University in Rome, in 2005, where he lectures on the Protection of Personal data and Fundamental Rights in Italy and Europe. In 1989, he was made a judge at the Tribunal of Avezzano.
He was also appointed to the High Level Policy Panel of the European Project on "Public Perception of Security and Privacy: Assessing Knowledge, Collecting Evidence, Translating Research Into Action - PACT (285635)” by the Peace Institute of Oslo.
Along with 138 other national representatives, he signed the Italian Manifest for a Digital Agenda in 2011. He is also a regular contributor to specialised books and journals, at both the European and national level and is the author of a significant number of papers.
From 1989 to 1997, Buttarelli was an advisor at the Legislation Department of the Italian Ministry of Justice.
He cooperated with various ministers and contributed to drafting and following up many regulatory provisions, in particular concerning criminal law, criminal procedure and data protection. He was also a member of several inter-ministerial committees concerning, among other topics, immigration, racial discrimination, community fraud, de-criminalisation, tax reforms, computer crime laws, access to confidential records and the digitalisation of public administrative agencies.
He is the author of Italian privacy law n. 675/96 on the processing of personal data.
In 1990, Buttarelli was appointed as a member of various Working Groups and Committees, such as the Convention 108 Consultative Committee, the Center for Just Peace and Democracy, the Group of Specialists on Access to Public Information and the Working Group on Data Protection in Police and Criminal Matters.
As an expert appointed by the Council of Europe, he drafted the report and the draft guidelines on video surveillance (2003) and the report and draft recommendation on the protection of personal data processed for employment purposes (2011-2013). He was also an adviser to the Venice Commission on an Opinion on "Video surveillance and Personal Rights”.
In addition, Buttarelli was a member of various Council Working Parties such as those negotiating Directives no. 95/46/EC (current EU data protection directive) and 97/66/EC (on the protection of privacy in the telecommunications sector). He participated in the Art. 31 Committee of Directive n.95/46/EC until 1999 and he is member of the Working Party ex Article 29 set up by Directive 95/46/EC.
In 1996, during the EU Italian Presidency period, he chaired the Working Group which drafted the common position on Directive no. 97/66/EC.
From 1997 to 2009, Buttarelli worked as Secretary General at the Garante per la protezione dei dati personali, the Italian Data Protection Authority. He was president of the Joint Supervisory Authority set up in pursuance of the Schengen Agreement in 2002–2003, after being its vice-president in 2000–2001. In 2011, he was elected chair of the CIS-Customs Supervision Coordination Group. In 2014, he succeeded Peter Hustinx in the role of European Data Protection Supervisor, after serving as Assistant Supervisor for one mandate from 2009 to 2014.
Upon designation of the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, he has been included for six years in the OSCE´, (Organization for security and Co-operation in Europe) resource list of the "Moscow Mechanism", including eminent persons experienced in the field of the human dimension, from whom an impartial performance of their functions may be expected, at disposal of the OSCE-ODIHR Office to contribute to the solution of specific problems concerning the respect of human rights and the human dimension.