Katrin Eggert

The Association’s right to sue under data protection: BvD for greater incorporation of supervisory authorities

Right to forbearance offers further options for law enforcement

The Association of Data Protection Officers of Germany (BvD) considers the new law on improved “enforcement under civil law of data protection regulations protecting consumers” as a further step towards prevention of abuse of personal data by companies. The regulation, in force since Wednesday, “offers associations the option of protecting consumers from companies that unlawfully collect, process or use customer data ”, said BvD Board member Rudi Kramer.

The law will, for instance, allow consumer councils and chambers of industry and commerce to obtain orders to cease and desist or warnings against firms using consumer data unlawfully. This will, however, be limited to advertising, market and opinion surveys, information bureaus, the profiling of personality and use and to other data trading or comparable commercial purposes. “This will not include basic processing of contracts or protection of employee data”, explained Kramer.

The new regulation will involve data protection authorities of the states in the processes, “not, however, including provisional legal protection when rulings are made without a hearing”, said Dr. Jens Eckhardt, Member of the Board and legal expert at BvD. “Yet, ruling on most civil disputes is via provisional legal protection and often without verbal negotiation, especially in cases of actions for injunction and under competition law”, he explained. “We therefore rely on the judiciousness of the courts to call on the professional expertise of data protection authorities and to conduct verbal negotiations.”

Kramer and Eckhardt emphasised that it has become increasingly important that companies seek the competent advice of their internal data protection officers. “Data protection officers will be able to avert legal disputes and correspondingly high legal costs”, they contend.

For queries: 

Rudi Kramer, BvD Board member

E-mail: rudi.kramer@bvdnet.de, Tel: (030) 2636 7760