DE  |   -- EN  |   -- RU

German Privacy Law

Key principles of German data protection law

Since the 1980s, data protection laws have become more and more important in Europe and Germany. The multitude of EU and German directives has made German data protection law one of the most complex legal fields.

The basic principle is simple: any storage, transmission or modification of data is prohibited, unless an exception applies. Because of the large number of laws and directives, as well as the potential for fines, criminal penalties and reputational damage, great care is necessary when determining whether a legal exception applies.

Historically, the authorities enforcing German privacy laws used their enforcement mechanisms sporadically. In recent years, however, enforcement actions are on the rise. Simultaneously, the EU and German legislative bodies have introduced new fines and criminal penalties.

German data protection authorities | DPAs

Each member state of the European Union is required to establish one or more data protection supervisory authorities. The supervisory authorities are responsible for monitoring compliance with data protection law. In Germany, each federal state has a state data protection commissioner, i.e. a data protection authority.

Creating a data protection concept for your company

Every company must comply with German data protection law, regardless of how many employees it has. Furthermore, any company with at least ten employees must appoint a data protection officer.

Given these legal requirements and increased enforcement actions, it is essential that every company create a data protection concept that is legally compliant, practicable and tailored to its individual needs. Our experienced attorneys can help you develop a data protection concept and address all of your privacy matters, including:

  • bringing employment contracts into line with data protection law
  • drafting data protection and data privacy programs and policies for your company, including training materials
  • drafting a declaration of consent form for clients, vendors and business partners
  • drafting a confidentiality agreement to ensure non-disclosure of protected data
  • drafting guidelines and contract clauses that are compliant with data protection law (e.g. Section 11 of the German Federal Data Protection Act)
  • assistance with the implementation of a company-wide data protection program, including on-site training and support
  • drafting guidelines for the implementation of control measures required by the appendix to Section 9 sentence 1 of the German Federal Data Protection Act
  • drafting guidelines for the transmission of personal data to another country so that those transmissions comply with sections 4b and 4c of the German Federal Data Protection Act)

Websites, the German Telemedia Act and data protection laws

The German Telemedia Act compels companies, associations and federations to disclose on their websites how they intend to use the data of their website visitors. Thus, every company with a website needs a website privacy policy that satisfies the requirements of German internet privacy laws according to the German Telemedia Act and the Federal Data Protection Act (Bundesdatenschutzgesetz, BDSG).

Entities covered by the Act include

  • companies,
  • federations,
  • associations and
  • charitable organizations.

Our experienced attorneys regularly review and draft new privacy policies for the websites of companies in a wide-variety of industries and sectors and can gladly advise you on which practices and policies you can engage in while remaining legally compliant.

 

Privacy and Cyber Security in Germany 2021

(Chapter in the Law Review series)

Our privacy experts contributed a chapter to the handbook The Privacy, Data Protection and Cybersecurity Law Review. Read here for free

Data protection concept for associations and federations in Germany

Federations, associations and other nonprofit organizations are subject to the same German privacy laws as commercial enterprises. While the German data protection authorities have historically focused their enforcement actions on commercial enterprises, in recent years they have also audited and initiated enforcement actions against charitable organizations.

Our attorneys have years of experience working with nonprofits. Let us use our experience to help you develop a data protection concept that is both legally compliant and suitable for your particular activities.

Fundraising restrictions

German data orivacy laws provide carve-outs and privileges for fundraising activities. However, fundraisers must also comply with the German Unfair Competition Act (Gesetz gegen den unlauteren Wettbewerb, UWG). As a result, fundraising activities which may be unobjectionable under data protection laws may still constitute unfair competition with other fundraisers. Our attorneys can review your prospective and existing advertising and fundraising efforts to ensure that they are legally compliant.

Special data protection for particularly sensitive data

Sensitive information concerning

  • ethnicity,
  • political opinions,
  • religious or philosophical beliefs,
  • union membership,
  • health or
  • sex life

are particularly protected under data protection law. For example, medical records or data from scientific studies using human research subjects are subject to special safeguards within health data protection law. Our attorneys are versed in the special rules that apply to sensitive data and can review your collection, use and storage of sensitive data to ensure compliance with data protection law.

In-house training on data protection law

Our attorneys can also provide on-site training courses on German and EU data protection law. For more information about trainings or any of the services mentioned above, feel free to contact us.

Your German data protection attorney

Our data protection experts

will be pleased to help you with any matters regarding German and EU data protection law. You can contact us via e-mail (info@winheller.com) or by phone (+49 69 76 75 77 80). Do not hesitate to contact us!

"Privacy Law":Recent blog posts

Privacy in Germany: What to Consider When Using Tracking Tools

- Olga Stepanova

Privacy in Germany: What to Consider When Using Tracking Tools

New Model For Fines For GDPR Violations

- Patricia Jechel

New Model For Fines For GDPR Violations

German Telecommunications Telemedia Data Protection Act Simplifies Consent to Cookies

- Olga Stepanova

German Telecommunications Telemedia Data Protection Act Simplifies Consent to Cookies

News

1665043810 > 1672441200

Exchange between the generations with lawyer and compliance expert Dr. Constantin Goette followed by a relaxed dinner in the Frankfurt Pizzeria Calma Caos

More

1665043810 > 1666908000

WINHELLER is represented in the 2022 Best Lawyers Ranking with four lawyers recommendations.

More

Contact

Contact

Awards

Juve AwardLegal 500 Germany 2019
azur100: Top Employer for Lawyers 2021

Newsletter

Stay up to date with our quarterly German Business Law newsletter!

Subscribe for free