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May 19 2014

German Consumer Organisations to be Empowered to Sue Businesses for Data Protection Law Breaches

Justice Minister, Heiko Maas, announced a draft Bill will allow consumer organisations to take businesses to court for non-compliance with Germany's Data Protection Act. Consumer rights organizations in Germany often pursue individual rights in terms of breaches of consumer protection legislation and unfair competition laws. The proposed amendment to the law will also strengthen consumer organisations' pursuit of claims under data protection law.

The Federation of German Consumer Organisations - Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband (VZBV), a non-governmental organisation acting as an umbrella for 41 German consumer associations, welcomed the announcement resulting from the coalition agreement. VZBV stated that the new amendment would create a legal basis for consumer organizations to take legal action against data protection violations and seek a cease and desist order. This would be achieved by an amendment to the Injunctions Act (UKlaG) so that both data protection laws and consumer protection laws would come within the meaning of section 2, paragraph 2 UKlaG.

This new Bill is part of the coalition agreement of the newly elected government so it is highly likely that it will enter into force.