IAPP-GDPR Web Banners-300x250-FINAL
DPI16_Banner_300x250 WITH COPY

With Peter Schaar leaving the position of German Federal Data Protection Commissioner on December 17 after 10 years of service, the coalition German government comprising the Social Democrats (SPD) and the Christian Democratic Union (the CDU – Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party) needed to nominate a replacement for confirmation in the German Parliament, the Bundestag.

As part of the grand coalition agreement, the CDU was given the right to make a nomination and chose Andrea Voßhoff, a member of the CDU who served in the Bundestag from 1998 through 2013. She was confirmed December 19 in the Bundestag, gaining 403 of 585 valid votes.

Voßhoff is generally unknown to the privacy community but did vote for a number of pieces of legislation to which Schaar objected. Further, German MEP Jan Philip Albrecht strenuously objected to her nomination, saying on Twitter that her confirmation would amount to an “abolition” of the office.

Regardless, said Jörg Hladjk, counsel at Hunton & Williams and German-qualified attorney with a German PhD in privacy, Voßhoff enters her role with three main challenges that will face her during her initial five-year term.

First, he said, it’s likely the German parliament will soon take up again privacy legislation for the workplace, something that’s been tabled a few times while the EU’s draft Data Protection Regulation has been circulating but which is gaining momentum again. “That will be a challenge as to where she will position herself,” Hladjk said, “and how she will deal with it.”

Further, her second real challenge is the proposed regulation, itself, as “the stakeholders in Brussels will look to Germany to facilitate the discussion.”

In the recent council meeting, he noted, “Germany was one of the main drivers in slowing down the process,” along with the UK and France. Specifically, the Germans are concerned with the “one-stop shop” portion of the proposed regulation and “want to be able to be involved and tell companies, ‘This is the line you don’t cross.’”

“Because Schaar was quite visible in the discussion,” Hladjk said, “and because I think Germany’s quite important in the whole process, with its tradition, its expertise, the powerful 16 DPAs, plus the office at federal level, I think [Voßhoff] will be looked to for how she might influence the process.”

Finally, he said, “she’ll be expected to position herself in context of the ongoing surveillance discussion—it’s not gone. It’s still out there, and every month we learn new facts. And Schaar has been very vocal about it.” How will Voßhoff influence Germany’s position on law-enforcement access to privacy data and its response to the NSA revelations?

One other piece of note with Voßhoff’s appointment is that, as part of the agreement, Social Democrats will be responsible for aspects of data protection relating to consumers, as coordinated by the SPD-led Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, while Voßhoff focuses on the public sector. The coalition plans to bring data protection for consumers into purview of the Stiftung Warentest, an independent institution for consumer protection. Of course, the 16 regional DPAs will continue to have authority over private corporations and consumer protection in their jurisdictions.

Read More By Sam Pfeifle:
IAPP Introduces New Suite of Free, CPE-Eligible Web Conferences for Members
CPO, Activist, Former NSA Counsel Square Off at DPC
Keynote: Forget Notice and Choice, Let’s Regulate Use
EU, U.S. Officials Indicate Potential Privacy Agreement at Data Protection Congress

Written By

Sam Pfeifle


If you want to comment on this post, you need to login.


Board of Directors

See the esteemed group of leaders shaping the future of the IAPP.

Contact Us

Need someone to talk to? We’re here for you.

IAPP Staff

Looking for someone specific? Visit the staff directory.

Learn more about the IAPP»

Daily Dashboard

The day’s top stories from around the world

Privacy Perspectives

Where the real conversations in privacy happen

The Privacy Advisor

Original reporting and feature articles on the latest privacy developments

Privacy Tracker

Alerts and legal analysis of legislative trends

Privacy Tech

Exploring the technology of privacy

Canada Dashboard Digest

A roundup of the top Canadian privacy news

Europe Data Protection Digest

A roundup of the top European data protection news

Asia-Pacific Dashboard Digest

A roundup of the top privacy news from the Asia-Pacific region

Latin America Dashboard Digest

A roundup of the top privacy news from Latin America

IAPP Westin Research Center

Original works. Groundbreaking research. Emerging scholars.

Get more News »

Find a KnowledgeNet Chapter Near You

Network and talk privacy at IAPP KnowledgeNet meetings, taking place worldwide.

Women Leading Privacy

Events, volunteer opportunities and more designed to help you give and get career support and expand your network.

IAPP Job Board

Looking for a new challenge, or need to hire your next privacy pro? The IAPP Job Board is the answer.

Join the Privacy List

Have ideas? Need advice? Subscribe to the Privacy List. It’s crowdsourcing, with an exceptional crowd.

Find more ways to Connect »

Find a Privacy Training Class

Two-day privacy training classes are held around the world. See the complete schedule now.

Online Privacy Training

Build your knowledge. The privacy know-how you need is just a click away.

The Training Post—Can’t-Miss Training Updates

Subscribe now to get the latest alerts on training opportunities around the world.

New Web Conferences Added!

See our list of upcoming web conferences. Just log on, listen in and learn!

Train Your Staff

Get your team up to speed on privacy by bringing IAPP training to your organization.

Learn more »

CIPP Certification

The global standard for the go-to person for privacy laws, regulations and frameworks

CIPM Certification

The first and only privacy certification for professionals who manage day-to-day operations

CIPT Certification

The industry benchmark for IT professionals worldwide to validate their knowledge of privacy requirements

Certify Your Staff

Find out how you can bring the world’s only globally recognized privacy certification to a group in your organization.

Learn more about IAPP certification »

Get Close-up

Looking for tools and info on a hot topic? Our close-up pages organize it for you in one easy-to-find place.

Where's Your DPA?

Our interactive DPA locator helps you find data protection authorities and summary of law by country.

IAPP Westin Research Center

See the latest original research from the IAPP Westin fellows.

Looking for Certification Study Resources?

Find out what you need to prepare for your exams

More Resources »

GDPR Comprehensive: Spots Going Fast

With the top minds in the field leading this exceptional program, it's no wonder it's filling quickly. Register now to secure your spot.

Be Part of Something Big: Join the Summit

Registration is open for the Global Privacy Summit 2016. Discounted early bird rates available for a short time, register today!

Data Protection Intensive Returns to London

Registration is now open for the IAPP Europe Data Protection Intensive in London. Check out the program!

P.S.R. Call for Speakers Open!

P.S.R. is THE privacy + cloud security event of the year, and you can take a leading role. Propose a session for this year's program.

Sponsor an Event

Increase visibility for your organization—check out sponsorship opportunities today.

Exhibit at an Event

Put your brand in front of the largest gatherings of privacy pros in the world. Learn more.

More Conferences »

Become a Member

Start taking advantage of the many IAPP member benefits today

Corporate Members

See our list of high-profile corporate members—and find out why you should become one, too

Renew Your Membership

Don’t miss out for a minute—continue accessing your benefits

Join the IAPP»