European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling strengthens the role of the internal data protection officer and helps companies

Jul 19, 2022

The Federal Data Protection Act provides for a special position of the internal data protection officer. Due to the sensitive nature of their work, the respective employee can only be dismissed for good cause. This special national regulation has now been confirmed by the European Court of Justice (ECJ), which thus strengthens the role of data protection officers.

The Association of Data Protection Officers Germany (BvD) even sees an advantage for companies in the ruling: “We welcome this clarification by the highest court, which provides security for companies and their employees. Both sides benefit from this,” says BvD board chairman Thomas Spaeing. “The appointed data protection officer is particularly valuable for the company if he can work independently and in a forward-looking manner on innovative solutions. Especially in the age of digitalization,” says Spaeing, pointing out that data protection officers are essential pilots for the digitalization of processes and services in many small and medium-sized companies.

Against this backdrop, the BvD clearly emphasizes that training and continuing education for data protection officers must meet consistently high standards. To this end, the association developed a professional mission statement together with the data protection supervisory authorities more than 10 years ago, which is constantly updated and further developed. In addition, the association is about to accredit a personal certification program according to DIN standards, which will contribute to qualification and market transparency.

“If demonstrably competent data protection officers are involved in company processes at an early stage, this is to the advantage of companies because legal risks are thus minimized,” says Spaeing. “After all, experts agree that in the future, every company will have to deal with more and more data from their customers and business partners, and new business areas will develop from this.” In the opinion of the BvD, the ECJ ruling could now provide tailwind for a factual debate on how this data competence required for this purpose can be increased, especially in medium-sized companies. In view of the rampant shortage of skilled workers in technical professions and IT, data protection officers already play a central role in this.

All information about the BvD can be found at: www.bvdnet.de

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