Germany, which boasts one of the toughest data protection regimes in the world, is urging EU countries not to be too restrictive in how they implement the new EU data laws or they will risk damaging the development of big data projects.
That is the message delivered by German chancellor Angela Merkel, who, speaking at the 10th IT Summit in Saarbrücken, said that Europeans are famous for banning things.
While conceding that these bans are put in place for good reason, they can be damaging if taken to excess, she asserted.
“In Germany we have the principle of ‘data minimisation’, but we may have to give a little on that. Such a principle doesn’t seem as appropriate when you are looking at big data,” she said, adding that “courts will have to be careful not to be too strict if that means limiting opportunities”.
Pinsent Masons data protection expert Kirsten Wolgast believes Merkel’s comments about the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) suggest a change of direction. She added: “Merkel obviously wants to create some space for big data business models, and make it a bit easier to establish. But we’ll have to wait and see whether the data protection authorities or courts take her comments into account.”
Germany is notoriously tough on data protection laws; outbound telemarketing was banned in 2009, while its regulator was the first to act on the WhatsApp’s recent data sharing deal with Facebook, banning it before any other country acted.
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