Data Protection

The term "data protection" developed in the 20th century with the spread of mass media and the development of telecommunications. Today, data protection generally means that personal data is protected against misuse.

Data protection also includes the protection of personal rights, the right to determine what happens to personal data, and protection against unwanted data processing. Data protection thus forms the framework for the ever-increasing flood of personal data, especially on the Internet. Accordingly, data protection is an important issue for webmasters, marketing service providers, and users.


With worldwide digitization via the Internet, the amount of data generated has multiplied exponentially over the years. Billions of data records are transferred and processed every day.

In the late 1980s, it was still possible, and even easy, to protect personal data and monitor its distribution, but today, the digital information culture and the social web are causing a massive accumulation and distribution of personal data. In addition, we are shaping our digital fingerprint with e-mails, VoIP telephone calls, chat programs and comments in blogs. As well as state institutions and secret services, private corporations are also showing great interest in this huge amount of data, so-called Big Data.

Personal data helps state institutions to combat crime, and the masses of data offer Internet companies the opportunity to sell products effectively, using sophisticated targeting mechanisms and displaying online advertising very specifically.

However, as the flood of personal data grows, so does the need for privacy protection. Data protection is intended to strengthen the idea that everyone has a right to decide what happens to their personal data. Data protection is playing an increasingly important role in the public debate, leading to the introduction of the GDPR in May 2018.[1] Large corporations such as Google and Facebook are often caught in the crossfire of data protectors. Search engines that do not store personal data, for example, include DuckDuckGo, Ixquick and Qwant. The Japanese network Mixi is a social network in which the personal data is still the property of the users.


Data Protection on the internet[edit]

Many areas on the internet are affected by current data protection. For example, creating a user account in an online shop, or the implementation of like buttons on your homepage.

Webmasters must also comply with applicable data protection regulations. In Germany, every public website must contain a notice on data protection. Social plug-ins must also be used in accordance with data protection regulations.

If Google search results contain results that infringe the personal rights of the user, the Google removal request gives the user the option of requesting the group to eliminate them. This possibility was demanded by the European Court of Justice in its ruling in May 2014, after the Spanish data protection authority filed a suit against Google.

Data protection on websites[edit]

The following is a list of information that should be included in a privacy policy:

  • Information about tracking services: the privacy policy must therefore state if, for example, Google Analytics or another web analysis tool is used.
  • Notes on social media plug-ins: here the plug-ins and their data storage function should be mentioned
  • Note that personal data will not be stored without the consent of the user.
  • Notice that user data will not be passed on to third parties without authorisation

In 2013, an EU-wide regulation on the use of cookies came into force. Since then, website operators have had to draw attention to their use.

Data protection should also be observed in tracking practice. This includes, for example, that tracking services do not store IP addresses. A well-known example is the addition "anonymize ip" in the Google tracking code.

Consequences For Online Marketing[edit]

Data protection guidelines are to be implemented by webmasters and marketing service providers in the best possible way. If these guidelines are not observed, this can result in serious consequences, for example lawsuits. There is also a risk that consumers might lose confidence in the company due to poor data protection policies.