Competence Center Consumer Research NRW publishes theses on privacy and consumer protection

On the 19th of November 2012 the Competence Center Consumer Research NRW organised a workshop in Düsseldorf on “The transparent consumer: Will data protection become part of consumer protection?” 

Today the workshop documentation and theses were published. The theses summarize the essence of the presentations and discussion. The theses are summarized here (without further explanations that are part of the full version):


1) Theses on the context

1.1: Today consumer privacy is more threatened than ever before.

1.2: While in the past data protection regulation was primarily about protecting consumers from the state, today it needs to protect consumers from private entities.

1.3: Many consumer loose oversight of who knows what about them and behave ambiguously.

1.4: Law making and enforcement is running behind developments.


2) Insights from consumer research

2.1: Today’s privacy regulation does not adequately address cloud-applications.

2.2: Repeatedly companies use consumer data irresponsibly.

2.3: Privacy protection is in danger to become a luxurious good.

2.4: In some instances regulation and not self-regulation can constitute an essential factor for the success of new services.

2.5: New tools such as Bitcoins can improve consumer privacy, but currently they still have some major weaknesses.


3) Theses on the implications for consumer policy

3.1: Privacy regulation has to be modernized and adapted to the challenges of the 21st century.

3.2: For a preventive approach in data protection the privacy protection authorities must be adequately equipped.

3.3: Good data protection begins with privacy-by-design.

3.4: Data protection needs to be easy for consumers (privacy-by-default).

3.5: Technologies to increase data security exist, but they also need to be used.

3.6: Future research also needs to focus on the relationship between data protection and distribution questions.


Further information: 

Source: Kompetenzzentrum Verbraucherforschung NRW