Data protection and privacy—Germany—Q&A guide

The following Information Law practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Data protection and privacy—Germany—Q&A guide
  • 1. Summarise the legislative framework for the protection of personally identifiable information (PII). Does your jurisdiction have a dedicated data protection law? Is the data protection law in your jurisdiction based on any international instruments on privacy or data protection?
  • 2. Which authority is responsible for overseeing the data protection law? Describe the investigative powers of the authority.
  • 3. Are there legal obligations on the data protection authority to cooperate with other data protection authorities, or is there a mechanism to resolve different approaches?
  • 4. Can breaches of data protection law lead to administrative sanctions or orders, or criminal penalties? How would such breaches be handled?
  • 5. Does the data protection law cover all sectors and types of organisation or are some areas of activity outside its scope?
  • 6. Does the data protection law cover interception of communications, electronic marketing or monitoring and surveillance of individuals? If not, list other relevant laws in this regard.
  • 7. Identify any further laws or regulations that provide specific data protection rules for related areas.
  • 8. What forms of PII are covered by the law?
  • 9. Is the reach of the law limited to PII owners and processors of PII established or operating in the jurisdiction?
  • More...

Data protection and privacy—Germany—Q&A guide

This Practice Note contains a jurisdiction-specific Q&A guide to data protection and privacy in Germany published as part of the Lexology Getting the Deal Through series by Law Business Research (published: July 2020).

Authors: Hoffmann Liebs Fritsch & Partner—Peter Huppertz

1. Summarise the legislative framework for the protection of personally identifiable information (PII). Does your jurisdiction have a dedicated data protection law? Is the data protection law in your jurisdiction based on any international instruments on privacy or data protection?

Primarily, data protection in Germany is governed by the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) entering into force on 25 May 2018, as standardised European law. However, as the GDPR includes specific opening clauses and allows national legislators an individual set of rules for particular areas via these clauses, there will still be a national data protection law in Germany. This national data protection law, for instance, data protection in the context of employment, is governed by the Federal Data Protection Act (the Act).

2. Which authority is responsible for overseeing the data protection law? Describe the investigative powers of the authority.

Overseeing the principles of data protection law is assigned to the individual federal states in Germany. Thus, every state has its own data protection authority (DPA), which is responsible for data processing in its territory.

The DPA can request any information that is

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