“I will not leave so, unpacking is worth it anyway.” Johannes Caspar sits in his office and shows two brown moving boxes to the wall. On the Desk an opened armdicker text of the law is, the computer cable rollers towards the outlet. Caspar has established provisionally, it is enough to Work. And that’s enough for again, Caspar. You have pragmatic thinking, maybe his Job has him taught.

Since 2009, lawyer Caspar, the Hamburg Officer for data protection and freedom of information. He is responsible for Facebook and Google, because both of them have headquarters in Hamburg, Germany. The data protection deals with the global data scandal Cambridge Analytica and the controversial transfer of data from WhatsApp to the parent company, Facebook. The Hamburger Verkehrsverbund HVV, and Hamburg-based companies such as Xing, also fall in his area of competence – as well as the funded LEVEL of ONLINE advertising.

Caspar’s tough struggle for privacy, shows how difficult it is for the state to keep step with the digital, global data services. The data pads on the Elbe have 21 full-time. The Tech companies from the Silicon Valley, have sales in the Billions – and no great desire to leave from Hamburg from the business model to ruin.

“the data protection rolls out of the city were not necessarily the red carpet of”

This summer, for Caspar, the problems of space. Before his authority was able to move into new offices, it went on a temporary basis for four months to the austere building of the Bezirksamt Hamburg-Mitte, Department of basic protection and social Affairs. In front of the entrance door, the cigarette smoke of the Waiting in the air, it smells of urine.

“As data protection officers, the city rolls out the red carpet,” says Caspar. This is a typical set for him, for three reasons:

It is a predicament recognizes, without naming them so. He is not complaining. He manages, somehow, between the lines, to spread the brittle optimism.

“We always drive over load”

Caspar’s authority is not just a control instance for the economy, but also the administration of the city. Many friends are not. But a lot of work.

Caspar said: “We always go on Last, that is our basic problem. Who wasn’t even a day since that gets a stack of files brought in.” He keeps the Hand at head height, to the height of said stack. “That’s no fun.”

In the affair to Cambridge Analytica Caspar was recently beaten. In April, he had a method for “collecting data without a legal reason”. In August, he hired it. Most of the Data call-offs involved in the case, were already time-barred.

Caspar in provisional authorities spaces

Caspar throws WhatsApp “misleading the user”

In the dispute over WhatsApp succeeded Caspar is better to keep the group in check, at least so far. 2014 Facebook WhatsApp acquired for $ 22 billion. At that time, the group assured that there should be no exchange of data. Later, Facebook wanted to the user but to the user data of his expensive Purchase, for example, the mobile numbers of WhatsApp. In Germany, approximately 35 million people.

Caspar’s answer to the action: an administrative arrangement. You said to the group, to store data of German WhatsApp users. The Hamburg-based Agency saw a “misleading the users and the Public”, as well as a “breach of national data protection law”.

There was a preliminary, Europe-wide stop the data transfer, the administrative court of Hamburg confirmed 2017, in principle, Caspar’s concerns.

Facebook area refers to Ireland

But, instead of the requirements of the Hamburg data protection Commissioner, worked Facebook tenaciously, the unpleasant control of your complete get rid of: The group takes the view that Hamburg was not at all responsible – and instead, the loose Irish data protection law to Facebook. The company has the headquarters to the EU.

DSGVO – easy privacy policy explains basic regulation of What the new EU rules for citizens mean

Ironically, the new General data protection regulation (DSGVO), the user should better protect, has brought the group here now is a success: Since the definitive entry into force of the DSGVO Ireland is the leading Facebook-control body for Europe. Caspar’s arrangement is no longer valid. His legal victory is melted to a temporary success.

“is There then also times

“This is a Nuisance in a fight””, says Caspar. He does not know that his Irish colleagues see the case as strictly as he. Will not give up, he but he wants to defend his arrangement on the EU level. “The fronts are shifting. Now it is a matter, first of all, in the European data protection Board of the action against the international Internet corporations to vote. There will then be a fight,” he says. Then he adds a characteristic sentence: “It is, however, not about colleagues in the pillory.”

Caspar believes that it is important, also, with the Great create: in The end, it is whether it is possible, the privacy also compared to the Big players to enforce. If this fails, it will fail the concept of data protection regulation.”

DSGVO is the number of inputs to explode

The DSGVO for Caspar’s authority, not only this, the Problem with The Hamburger – as well as many data protection authorities of the other 15 Federal States – from requests and complaints relating to the DSGVO flooded. Caspar speaks for Hamburg, an increase of more than 100 percent.

The DSGVO gives the Hamburg-based data protection specialists will not only work, but also an image problem. Clubs, schools, photographers, and bloggers were confused. Out of fear of DSGVO violations it came to drastic reactions, for example, blackened children’s photos in the Album of a day – care centre or a Posse to set the signs without name in Vienna. The DSGVO presents data protection as a red tape monster from Brussels.

Ulrich Kühn is a computer scientist and has been working for 27 years in the data protection authority. As Caspar’s Deputy and head of unit D6, he has, for example, with the Software of the test offers. Earlier, he says, have given it to the idea that you can be the whole flood of data yet somehow. Not a lot of Affected in the meantime. “The DSGVO embodies for me the claim that control is now back,” says Kühn. “I think this is hardly possible. But it is very important, this claim is not to give up.”

An impossible task day in and to keep track of day in and day out and in spite of all the troubles is ultimately never successfully be able to complete the Sisyphean task of a modern data protection. There can be only stage wins.


“We get used to things, we found a few years ago, is still appalling”, has Boldly observed. Even the spirit of the age seems to work against the data protection. In everyday life, your concern appears to be many German, often as a barrier, as a troublesome appendage of the digitization. You will find it more and more in order to pay with data for services that you actually know hardly any, where this data go everywhere, that the terms and conditions unreadable paragraph are deserts, which no man understands, and that their faces are constantly filmed.

While most of them have lost the Overview a long time, asks one of the data pads, like Caspar, how was it now again exactly, and what data, where and how long collected, saved and processed.

How to fight he can not have the feeling of fighting a losing battle?

data queries at Facebook, Netflix and co. Now we collect back

arguments instead of ideology

He remembers one of his first big cases, almost ten years past the dispute on Google’s Street View service. The road sections were photographed by a camera car for the power. “That was the last major battle of the analogue against the digital world,” says Caspar.

Today, Google Street View is an example of an innovation that long ago no one is more upset – the state plans to Tests at the Berlin train station Südkreuz biometric face recognition by video surveillance. The supposed Super-Argument of security from the point of view of many people, privacy concerns often strangely petty.

Caspar does not believe, however, that the erosion of data protection, must necessarily go on and on: “You on the other hand, if one argues in a rational and not ideological,” says Caspar. In the part of heated discussions, for example, to the controversial processing of face data on the occasion of the G20 summit in Hamburg, examines Caspar stoic: Was it even legally permissible?

Caspar said: “You just keep trying the Best for the protection of privacy out of what is going on.” Perhaps this attitude protects the data pads in front of it, to capitulate.

Sam Yoon has many years of experiences in journalism. He has covered such areas as information technology, science, sports and politics. Yoon can be reached at 82-2-6956-6698.