Data protection practice study published

Data protection study

Results are a strong plea for the introduction of the Data Protection Officer across Europe

from D. Zier

The data protection officers of German companies see an urgent need for political action. 69% believe that the existing data protection laws, particularly in the areas of cloud computing, international data processing and social media, cannot be implemented. 77% fear a deterioration in the level of data protection as a result of the General Data Protection Regulation. On the other hand, 79% rate their support from management as sufficient or better, while 86% see collaboration with specialist departments as cooperative and goal-oriented.

So are companies and their data protection officers antagonistic towards each other? No. It is clear that data protection officers offer their companies considerable cost benefits. They enable the self-administration of data protection. Managing the procedures themselves is much more efficient than having to report each processing of personal data individually to the supervisory authorities and, if necessary, wait for approval. The study demonstrates the effectiveness and efficiency of this German model of corporate self-regulation. It is a committed plea for the introduction of the company data protection officer throughout Europe.

These are the key findings of the study "Data Protection Practice 2015", conducted by the Bonn-based data protection consultancy 2B Advice GmbH and the Institute for Economic and Social Statistics at the Technical University of Dortmund. The study was presented today at the European Parliament in Brussels by 2B Advice to MEP Axel Voss, Vice-Chairman of the European Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee and legal policy spokesman for the CDU/CSU group.

"The study provides a realistic insight into the work of data protection officers, the resources used and practical approaches for improvement," says lawyer Marcus Belke, Managing Director of 2B Advice.

Other important statements from the study at a glance:


  • 81 percent of the data protection officers surveyed work part-time. 37 percent devote a maximum of five percent of their working time to data protection.
  • 48 percent of the data protection officers surveyed have too little time to fulfill their legal obligations.
  • 44 percent are dissatisfied with the work of the supervisory authorities. They criticize the inadequate prosecution of data protection violations and would like more advice and training.
  • 80 percent of data protection breaches are punished within the company. In 2012 ("Data Protection Practice 2012"), this figure was only 49 percent.
  • 37 percent of the data protection breaches identified related to customers, 48 percent to the company's own employees.
  • 42 percent of the data protection officers surveyed are not sufficiently informed about data protection breaches.
  • 62 percent do not have a complete procedure directory.
  • 43 percent consider certification to be useful, but only five percent of companies have already been certified.

Axel Voss: "Structures are becoming increasingly blurred, data scandals are shaking consumer confidence. It is precisely this shaken image of trust that this study confirms. It provides political decision-makers as well as the business community with concrete figures on the work of data protection officers in Germany. The long-term goal is a European digital single market with high data protection standards.

That is why we in Europe must take into account the dwindling trust and the concerns of the German data protection officers when revising the General Data Protection Regulation. Above all, we need to adapt European data protection to digitalization. Data protection officers will therefore play an important role."

For those interested, it is available for free download in German and English at Publications.

The "Data Protection Practice 2015" is based on information from 263 data protection officers with 2,097 years of professional experience. An iPad mini retina was raffled off among all participants. The winner was Heinz-Georg Kämpchen from Rheinisch-Westfälischer Genossenschaftsverband e.V.


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