Source: iStock.com/BirgitKorber

© iStock.com/BirgitKorber

Representatives from the Federal Economic Affairs Ministry and the Federal Ministry of the Interior, as well as officials from business associations and data protection authorities met at the Federal Economic Affairs Ministry today to continue their exchange on the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation and the 2018 Federal Data Protection Act. The discussions were launched in the summer of 2017 with the goal of helping small and medium-sized enterprises in particular to adjust their data processing systems to the new data protection standards.

Matthias Machnig, State Secretary at the Federal Economic Affairs Ministry, said: “Our aim is to ensure that the General Data Protection Regulation will also be a success in practice. To achieve this, it is important that the business community and data protection authorities remain in close contact with each other during the adjustment process in a bid to marry theory and practice. The dialogue furthermore helps to give the supervisory authorities direct insight into the difficulties that SMEs in particular are faced with when trying to put the standards into practice. At our meeting, the data protection authorities will explain their legal opinion to the business representatives, who have the opportunity to respond to this directly.”

Hans-Georg Engelke, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of the Interior, said: “Many companies are still uncertain in terms of what measures they will need to take to adjust their data protection processes to the new data protection law. In addition to the question of what needs be done, the focus is on how this can be achieved in practice. We want to use this series of events to find practical solutions to this question as we seek to keep supporting the business community in implementing the new data protection law.”

Today’s meeting will also serve to discuss questions of data processing, the future role of corporate data protection officers, and the possibility of introducing industry-specific codes of conduct.

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation will take effect on 25 May 2018 after a transitional period of two years. It will then form the legal basis for data protection rules within the European Union. Companies are required to adjust their business processes to the new legal standards by 25 May 2018.