Kühling, J. & F. SackmannRights to data

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Jürgen Kühling & Florian Sackmann

Release date:
November 2018

Legal report on behalf of the German Federation of Consumer Organizations (vzbv)

For some time, there is a discussion in Germany about the modification or rather complementation of the data privacy regime under the slogan of „data ownership“. This legal opinion evaluates the possible further steps towards a data ownership right from a consumer perspective. It is noted that in the current legal system, the rights for data are determined according to the respective protective purpose. A consistent data law does not exist (in Germany) within the legal system and such a legislation could not be embedded into the current system. The idea of a data ownership, which seeks in variant degrees to assign data exclusively to an entitled person, must be rejected. Assigning new rights to data to single actors by the means of exclusive rights are unnecessary and counterproductive, as they also increase the system´s overall complexity. The present legal situation allows for ways to resolve these problems. However, any solution to the current problems requires the resolute use of relevant options by the respective executive organs (especially data protection and competition authorities) in the field. Two reference areas (of data protection law) provide further arguments against a regulatory approach based on data ownership. Mobility as a reference issue highlights the increasing importance of data generally and simultaneously serves as an example for a functioning modern legal framework. On the other hand, the way in which health data is processed highlights the existence of a complex and rather disadvantageous data protection regime, which would become even more complex by introducing new rights to data

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