German study reveals data protection failings in online platforms

Many of the online platforms in use in Germany do not meet the standards set by the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), according to a survey commissioned by the Justice Ministry.

“Nowhere near all the services have implemented the GDPR and certainly not completely,” Justice Ministry secretary Gerd Billen told the Thursday edition of the Handelsblatt business daily.

Billen noted in particular the “serious shortcomings” in social networks and messenger services found in the survey conducted for the ministry by Goettingen University.

The EU regulation, which went into force in May last year, set new and stringent standards for data protection and is increasingly seen as a global standard.

The survey took in 35 market-relevant services, including social media portals Facebook and Twitter, online retail outlets like Zalando, reservation portals like and the online services of big companies like Deutsche Bank.

It checked, for example, to what extent information was provided on how personal data would be used and how user behaviour would be evaluated.

“How the data that in fact require careful protection are handled, such as sensitive information on origin, health and political views, is often negligent,” Billen told the Handelsblatt.

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