Key concepts 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...
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