German Minister Proposes Data Protection Law Aimed at Limiting Privacy Rights

German interior minister has proposed a draft law for data protection (DVD) in which the powers and authorities of German Data Protection department have been limited greatly and they cannot even investigate suspected breaches of legal and medical records of people.

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This particular bill will also ban the citizens’ right to know what sort of data about them is being collected by the government as well as private companies in case if the release of that data would endanger the business objectives of the company or threatens national security.

Furthermore, the bill will limit the powers of data protection commissioners of the government regarding video surveillance with facial recognition technology. According to Germany’s DW-TV, as per the contents of the bill, the commissioners will only be able to check the technical requirements for ensuring that lawyers and doctors’ files are protected and won’t allow them to conduct a follow-up research if and when any citizen reports about any possible data leak.

Data protection groups claim that the German minister is aiming to drastically limit privacy rights of Germans as they won’t be able to know what sort of data is being collected about them.

The proposed bill was condemned by current DVD board member and former data protection commissioner of the state of Schleswig-Holstein, Thilo Weichert too who stated that this bill actually was a massive erosion of privacy plan compiled by de Maiziere.

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It is notable that the data protection limitations have been proposed in the field of health care majorly, which is nothing short of a disaster, stated Weichert. He also added that the bill from interior ministry proved that “”data protection is not currently seen as relevant by the government.”

On the other hand, the chairman of DVD Frank Spaeing explained that the bill was a data protection prevention law. Spaeing further noted that the time has come for the Economics Ministry, Justice and Consumer Affairs Ministry and the Science and Research Ministry to intervene in this matter so as to protect civil rights.

The Federal Data Protection Commissioner’s office (BfDI) also severely condemned the law and Commissioner Andrea Vosshoff stated that the bill is a plan to control the BfDI in various sensitive areas “for instance health insurance companies, job centers, or other social service operators, almost impossible, and is not acceptable.”

It is catastrophic that the new bill will empower the government to deny people their basic right to what kind of personal details about them is being collected. This is a right which was described by the DVD as the “Magna Carta” of data protection.

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Currently, Vosshoff is deliberating with the German cabinet regarding the bill.



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