Spindler, G., C. Thorun & J. WittmannLaw enforcement in consumer data protection: status quo and recommendations

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Gerald Spindler, Christian Thorun & Jörn Wittmann

Release date:
May 2016



Digitalization characterizes our everyday lives. Its effects are ambiguous, however. While consumers benefit from a wide range of new products and services, they often imply a form of surveillance and pose a potential for segmentation.

Polls show that consumers are irritated due to this ambiguity. They often say that they were losing control and criticize that they often needed to provide more information than necessary. These concerns do not only pose the question whether consumer privacy law is sufficient, but also whether the law is adequately enforced.

This study on behalf of the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation takes stock of the system of consumer privacy law enforcement in Germany. It concludes that the most urgent need for action lies in three areas: individual enforcement, public law enforcement and co-regulation. Since the German government recently improved the collective law enforcement rights of consumer organisations, it is to expect that the situation will improve in this area. 

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