Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community

The ambassador of the Permanent Representation of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Council of Europe, Mr Rolf Mafael, signs the Protocol amending. In the background the Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland Source: Candice Imbert - Europarat
News · 10 October 2018

Germany signs protocol on data protection

International data protection is strengthened

At an official ceremony in Strasbourg today, the ambassador of the Permanent Representation of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Council of Europe, Mr Rolf Mafael, signed the Protocol amending the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (Council of Europe Convention 108) on behalf of the Federal Republic of Germany. By signing the protocol, Germany has reaffirmed its commitment to a high level of privacy protection and is strengthening international cooperation on data protection.

Dating back to 1981, the Council of Europe Convention 108 was the first legally binding intergovernmental convention on data protection. Convention 108 sets out the most important principles of data protection law. In addition to the 47 member states of the Council of Europe (which include all EU member states, the Russian Federation, Turkey, Switzerland and Norway), Mexico, Uruguay, Mauritius, Senegal, Tunisia and Cape Verde have already ratified Convention 108 as well. This gives Convention 108 a global reach for the development of data protection law far beyond Europe.

Due to the enormous technological developments since the 1980s, Convention 108 and its Additional Protocol from 2001 had to be updated. After several years of negotiations, the parties to the convention agreed on an amending protocol that makes Convention 108 fit for the future. For example, it gives data subjects more rights and requires controllers to report privacy violations to the supervisory authority. Creating an independent supervisory authority will be mandatory for all parties to the convention.

The amending protocol is fully consistent with EU data protection law. In the long term, the amending protocol will raise the level of data protection in many countries, potentially making it easier to transmit personal data from Germany to these countries. The amending protocol also opens the door for international organizations such as the European Union to join Convention 108 in the future.

In principle, the amending protocol can enter into force only upon ratification by all parties to the convention. However, parts of the amending protocol may already enter into force in five years.