Source: iStock.com/BirgitKorber

© iStock.com/BirgitKorber

As of today, uniform rules on the handling of personal data apply throughout Europe: after a two-year transition period, the EU General Data Protection Regulation will now apply directly in all EU Member States, creating a uniform legal framework for data protection.

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier said: "As of today, all companies that are active in the EU and that use personal data must stick to the same rules – no matter whether they are situated within or outside the EU. In times when data processing is becoming the focus of corporate added value and data protection is becoming the focus of public interest, this is a major step forward – not only for citizens, but also for companies. We have harmonised rules and are strengthening the internal market where in the past differing national data protection requirements distorted competition within the EU and were a mutual impediment to market access. Our export-oriented businesses in particular will benefit from this. In the last few months, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has especially helped small and medium-sized enterprises implement the new rules. We will continue this support, and we want to contribute to the correct interpretation of the rules. Our aim is to ensure that the General Data Protection Regulation will also be a success in practice. This means that the legal framework it provides needs to be implemented in innovative business models such as smart data applications. As of today, digital innovations that guarantee the basic right to data protection are digital innovations 'Made in EU' ".