Thursday 13 October 2022

§§ (10. 219)

The oldest formal data protection law in the world, the State of Hessen promulgated its Data Protection Act (das Datenschutzgesetz) on this day in 1970. A model for privacy legislation to follow, it was authored chiefly by Spiros Simitis, inspired by a visionary article in the Frankfurter Allegemeinen Zeitung (FAZ) warning of the potential pitfalls of widespread computer use and when the law was adopted by the Landtag to great zeal, it was declared that omniscient, panopticon of survellience would not be able to gain purchase here, setting up an independent institution to monitor against Orwellian practises. Though lacking a robust regulatory framework by today’s standards, evolution and articulation of the law enshrined for us in iterations the concepts of retention and disposition schedules, data earmarking and anonymization as well as informed consent and the right of information self-determination.