Competition | European Encyclopedia of Law

Authorised Disclosure Officer

Authorised Disclosure Officer

Role of the Authorised Disclosure Officer (“ADO”)

The Commission and all other ECN members have appointed Authorised Disclosure Officers (“ADO”) to ensure that confidential information is being transmitted in an appropriate way 1 . In the Commission the ADO holds the key to the secure e-mail system, and therefore is the person who receives/sends messages from/to NCAs where the use of this system is necessary.

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For the Commission, the antitrust ADO is the Head of the antitrust registry. For the purposes of sending documents to the Advisory Committee, also the secretariat of the Advisory Committee can use the secure mailing system. Likewise, for the purposes of hearings, the team of the Hearing Officer can use this system.

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When a Network member sends a communication to DG Competition, the ADO has the responsibility to ensure that it reaches the appropriate persons within DG Competition, in decrypted form, without delay.

Other Considerations

When information should be sent to Network members, the case-handling unit is responsible for determining in each particular case if the nature of the information is so sensitive – business secrets or other confidential information, network- as well as internal communications – that it needs to be sent with encryption via the ADO.


When asking for an encrypted transmission to the NCAs to take place, the case-handling unit sends a message to the mailbox of the DG Competition ADO and furthermore indicates the subject line of the mail to be sent, as explained below. It is important to recall that this subject line is never encrypted and, therefore, must be worded with care. After adding encryption the registry will forward the unit's mail to the NCAs.


The NCA's ADOs have asked that they should not be the addressees of communications that do not require particularly confidential treatment. Instead, such communications can be sent to the general contact points of the NCAs. In case of doubt whom to send a communication to, please ask for advice from the ECN unit.


See Also



[Note 1]
The ADO function is essentially linked to the cooperation mechanisms established by the antitrust modernisation under Regulation 1/2003 and more in particular to the Article 12 exchange of information and the Articles 20-22 investigation cooperation. Therefore, while many network members have organised their formal communication channels so that the ADO is the central entry and exit point between them and the Commission and also between all network members, the only communications which must pass by the ADO are those which in a strict sense relate to enforcement cooperation between network members. This means, for instance, that when the Commission informs or consults national authorities with a view to applying Articles 7, 8, 9, 10 and 29(1) of Regulation 1/2003, the participation of the ADO in this sense is not called for. Whether or not the ADO intervenes in person, the confidentiality of documents sent out by the Commission must in any event be fully protected by the receiving authority, but the Commission cannot widen the agreed scope of intervention of the ADO. This is why the ECN members have asked that the Commission indicates in the transmissions what the legal basis is, so that they can easily assess whether the ADO must intervene in person.

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