Virtual privacy office online

Information, tools and discussions to encourage personal initiative

Numerous individual laws and regulations govern data protection in germany. However, they are often incomprehensible – and even ineffective on the internet. New concepts must be found to eliminate this state of emergency. On the initiative of helmut baumler, the data protection commissioner of schleswig-holstein, a virtual data protection office was set up on the internet on tuesday. It tries to take not only government agencies, but also private individuals into the obligation – with more own initiative.

The office will be operated from kiel for the next two years. Almost all german data protection commissioners as well as colleagues from switzerland, the netherlands and canada are participating in the joint project. It is aimed at data protectionists, burghers, journalists, administrations and the economy. It offers information, discussion forums and a news ticker, as well as data protection tools that can be downloaded free of charge.

Transparency is the central motto. According to baumler, transparency means "openness for concepts, open discussions and the use of so-called open source software, which makes its trustworthiness verifiable by disclosing its source code and thus making it accessible to everyone."

Not only data protection specialists and experts, but also interested freaks and privacy activists can participate in the office. A first project is the open source project "wau – web access anonymous and unobservable" with a newly developed tool for anonymous surfing – and at the same time a homage to the old father of the chaos computer club wau holland. The project is also supported by the federal commissioner for data protection joachim jacob. Among other things, he moderates "international data flows" and data protection control in the european union.

The concept for the virtual office was developed and technically implemented by the independent center for data protection in schleswig-holstein. Since july 1999 it is demanded by the initiative information society schleswig-holstein, support received the prototype by the technology donation schleswig-holstein.

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