Consumer Data Protection with Emerging Economies

Project description

Title: Consumer Data Protection with Emerging Economies
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV)
Country: China, Brazil
Lead executing agency: State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), China; Ministry of Justice (MoJ), Brazil
Overall term: 2013 to 2016

Context

The global spread of information and communications technologies presents consumers with a variety of practical innovations. These include new means of communication as well as access to a wide range of goods and services via online commerce and payment procedures.

However, using these services also exposes consumers to risks. Cross-border trading in data, the unintentional dissemination of personal information, and the misuse of access data are problems that can lead to considerable personal inconvenience as well as economic damages.

In view of increasingly globalized trade and communications, the effective protection of consumer data requires international cooperation involving not just industrialized but also emerging economies. Recent political, economic and social developments clearly show that there is a growing awareness of the importance of consumer data protection in key emerging economies such as China and Brazil.

Objective

The conditions for cooperation between Brazil, China and Germany in the field of consumer data protection are improved.

Approach

The project is establishing an international dialogue forum as a basis for close political and technical cooperation between Brazil, China and Germany. International actors such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN) and the global umbrella association of consumer organisations, Consumers International (CI), will be involved in the dialogue.

A comparative study of consumer data protection will form the conceptual basis for cooperation. It will outline and compare the current situation in the countries concerned, and will make recommendations for further cooperation.

The study's findings will form the basis for human capacity development measures, for example in the form of an e-learning platform, as a training tool for consumer organisations and political decision-makers, as well as for conventional training courses.

Results

A German delegation undertook a fact-finding mission to China in October 2013, during which they held talks with more than ten relevant political, economic, academic and civil-society organisations. Based on the outcomes of this fact-finding, experts at the University of Göttingen have prepared a report on the current state of affairs for consumer data protection in China, which identifies priority areas for further cooperation.

A political dialogue between Germany, Brazil and China on the subject of consumer data protection was initiated at a high-level conference attended by Heiko Maas, the German Federal Minister for Justice and Consumer Protection, in November 2014. The Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, the European Data Protection Supervisor, representatives from OECD and civil-society actors such as Global Partners and Privacy International are also involved in the dialogue.

During the first half of 2015, experts from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the Brazilian Ministry of Justice and the University of Göttingen, coordinated by CI and GIZ, prepared a comparative study of consumer data protection in Germany, Brazil and China. Preliminary study results were presented and discussed at a high level symposium in July 2015 in Beijing. The first training activities for improved consumer data protection services by consumer organisations as well as members of the administration were conducted at the same time. The development of the e-learning-platform is underway.

China. Kick-off conference, November 2014. © GIZ