Determann’s Field Guide to International Data Privacy Law Compliance

Determann’s Field Guide to International Data Privacy Law Compliance

Lothar Determann

Companies, lawyers, privacy officers, developers, marketing and IT professionals face privacy issues more and more frequently. Much information is freely available, but it can be difficult to get a grasp on a problem quickly, without getting lost in details and advocacy. This is where Determann’s Field Guide to International Data Privacy Law Compliance comes into its own – helping to identify issues and provide concise practical guidance in an increasingly complex field shaped by rapid change in international laws, technology and society.

Key Concepts

Lothar Determann

Subjects: law - academic, information and media law, internet and technology law, law -professional, technology, media and telecommunications law


Before entering the field, it is helpful for orientation to scope out or recall key concepts and terminology. Acronyms and abbreviations are also summarized at the back of this book. 1 The field: data protection, privacy and security The terms “data privacy” and “data protection” are often used interchangeably, in particular in the context of comparisons of Anglo-Saxon data privacy laws and continental European data protection laws. Actually, the two terms and legislative concepts have quite different origins and purposes. Here is a simplified overview: Data protection: data protection is about protecting individuals (the data subjects) from the effects of automated data processing. When you try to understand or comply with European data protection laws, keep in mind that the default rule is verboten (German for forbidden). Businesses and other organizations are generally prohibited from processing personal data, unless they obtain consent from the data subjects or they find an applicable statutory exemption. European data protection laws are first and foremost intended to restrict and reduce the automated processing of personal data – even if such data is publicly available. My home state, the German State of Hessen, enacted the first data protection law in 1970 due to growing concerns regarding the dangers of automated data processing for individual freedoms. Citizens and politicians were concerned that George Orwell’s forecast for 1984 could become reality: where “glass citizens” are observed and controlled by an omniscient “big brother,” the government. More recently, these concerns have been joined by fears regarding “little brothers,” namely...

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