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In July 2020, the French supervisory authority Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) published guidelines on data retention (Guide pratique – Les durées de conservation). In collaboration with the Service interministériel des archives de France (SIAF), the CNIL has developed a practical guide to help professionals to set retention periods for their personal data processing.

This guide replaces the previous recommendations of 11 October 2005.The document is divided into three main parts: The principle of limitation of retention period, the definition and application, and key points for retention periods.

The CNIL summarises that the key points for retention periods are organised by sector. Retention periods for the operational database and intermediate archiving are derived from legal or regulatory texts, as well as from periods recommended by the CNIL. However, these recommendations have so far only been published in two separate documents “Référentiel” on the CNIL’s health sector website (see Sources).