Media watchdog to become hamburg’s new data protection commissioner

Media watchdog to become hamburg's new data protection commissioner's new data protection commissioner

In Hamburg, Rot-Grun has agreed on the lawyer Thomas Fuchs as successor to the Hamburg data protection commissioner Johannes Caspar. Eva Botzenhart, a member of the Hamburg Parliament, confirmed this to our site.

Fuchs has been director of the Media Authority Hamburg since 2008. The election in the burgh is to take place next week. The Hamburg State Chancellery has so far not commented on the report to our website.

From 1999 to 2001, Fuchs was personal advisor to the SPD Senator for Economic Affairs, Thomas Mirow. He studied law, philosophy and European law in Hamburg, Brussel and Bremen. As media director, Fuchs last year prohibited Google’s cooperation with the National Health Portal of the Federal Ministry of Health, whose content was to appear at the top of search results. Google took this as an opportunity to clarify in a complaint whether the State Media Treaty and thus the German platform regulation is compatible with European law. The procedure is still pending.

Public invitation to tender, internal decision

The Hamburg City Council had published a call for tenders to fill the prestigious post. The selection procedure “in a small circle” therefore stumbles on criticism. The former data protection commissioner of Schleswig-Holstein, Thilo Weichert, told our site: “It”s good that a successor to Hamburg”s current data protection commissioner, Johannes Caspar, will be appointed relatively soon.” Hamburg is responsible for many nationally relevant data protection ies because many major German subsidiaries are located there, she said.

“It is not good at all that the succession was apparently again negotiated in back rooms”, criticizes Weichert. The General Data Protection Regulation requires in Art. 53 that the selection “through a transparent procedure” must take place. “There can be no question of this.” This transparent procedure should ensure that the qualifications of the applicants are the deciding factor, and not the party affiliation.

Applicants without response

The lawyer and data protection expert Malte Engeler had applied to several parliamentary groups of the Burgerschaft – but only received an entry confirmation from the Grunen faction – “nothing else, from anyone, on any communication channel”, he told our site. Another applicant had not received a single confirmation of receipt.

Engeler had interpreted the public call for expressions of interest as a “positive signal” understood. The abandonment of an open selection process with the hearing of promising applicants burdens an office, “whose main task is to demand transparency from the supervised companies and authorities”. Since the start of the GDPR, all state parliaments had ignored this.

Eva Botzenhart, spokesperson for digital and data protection of the Grunen Hamburg, however, emphasized on Twitter: “We have just enforced the transparent procedure for the first time with the expression of interest procedure.” Elections are held in the city council, where the majority rules apply.

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