“Applying the GeoBusiness Code of Conduct allows businesses to ensure in just a few clicks that their management of personal data is compliant with data privacy regulations,” noted Brigitte Zypries, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy. “This also provides documentation of that compliance for official authorities and data providers. For small and medium-sized companies, in particular, this facilitates access to and use of geodata, while at the same time strengthening the application of data privacy laws – and that is a very positive signal for the economy.”
The use of geodata from public bodies harbours significant economic potential, especially in the case of precise and high-resolution geodata. However, since such data is frequently linked to personal details, its use must be pursuant with privacy provisions. The concrete cases here, for example, relate to property owner information which the raw materials sector could process to further enhance operational planning, or involve details on heritage buildings relevant for the insurance industry.
The GeoBusiness Code of Conduct is being implemented by the GeoBusiness Commission (GIW) under the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) in cooperation with the non-profit association SRIW (Selbstregulierung Informationswirtschaft e.V.). SRIW’s Chief Executive Officer Harald Lemke noted: “Through cooperation between the industry and the authorities, a practical solution has been successfully developed making geodata more accessible and, at the same time, safeguarding data privacy. Such cooperation can serve as a model to follow in future.”
Alexander Dix, Berlin Commissioner for Data Protection, emphasised: “For a key sector of the economy, the GeoBusiness Code of Conduct represents an appropriate balance between the freedom of information and data protection fulfilling the requirements of the Federal Data Protection Act (BDSG).”
Through the GeoBusiness Code of Conduct, businesses can sign up online to a declaration of voluntary commitment and have business processes using geodata accredited. This service, available on www.geodatenschutz.org, also checks compliance between data privacy requirements and a company’s technical and organisational regulations on data privacy issues establising, for example, when and how a company data protection officer is available, or which measures are taken to protect unauthorized access to personal data. “We launched this harmonisation process in 2010,” said Dr. Jörg Reichling, GeoBusiness Commission (GIW) leader of negotiations, “since there can be no economic added-value without a unified set of rules on data protection”.
The declaration of voluntary commitment has been drafted jointly by members of the GeoBusiness Commission (GIW), the business sector, legal experts and data privacy groups. More details on the GeoBusiness CoC available (in German) on www.geodatenschutz.org.