Privacy Laws

German data protection compared to the GDPR

The German flag with the Reichstag building in the background
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General overview

Germany has extensively utilized the opening clauses of the GDPR to establish separate data protection provisions for Germany. There are both additions and deviations from the GDPR concerning key data protection topics that companies must be aware of. If certain topics are not linked, there are no differing provisions in national data protection law.

GDPR opening clauses

Germany has made use of the opening clauses, particularly concerning the processing of data in the public sector, data processing for scientific purposes, and data processing in healthcare.

Key differences and national specifics

Specific data protection laws and official guidelines

Germany has specific data protection laws and official guidelines. These provide detailed information and guidance for compliance with data protection regulations in Germany.

Legal basis and sensitive data

Germany has specific regulations regarding the legal basis for data processing and the processing of sensitive data. These regulations are important to ensure that companies adhere to data protection requirements correctly.

E-Marketing and cookies

Germany has regulations concerning e-marketing and the use of cookies. However, it should be noted that a new regulation through the ePrivacy Regulation is still pending.

Data subject rights

The rights of data subjects in Germany are extensively regulated. Companies should ensure that they respect these rights and adequately inform data subjects.

Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) and Data Protection Officer

Companies in Germany should ensure that they conduct DPIAs in accordance with German regulations. Additionally, there are regulations regarding the appointment of a Data Protection Officer.


Germany has adopted many of the GDPR guidelines but has also introduced some national peculiarities. Companies operating in Germany or conducting business with German citizens should ensure that they fully understand and comply with both the GDPR and German data protection law.