This page contains automatically translated content.

12/10/2020 | Pressemitteilung

Alexander Roßnagel appointed Data Protection Commissioner of the State of Hesse

Today (December 10), the Hessian state parliament elected Prof. Dr. Alexander Roßnagel, a legal scholar from Kassel, as the Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information for the state of Hesse. His goal here is primarily to advocate for the incorporation of data protection into information technology systems (Privacy by Design).

Image: Sonja Rode.
Prof. Dr. Alexander Roßnagel.

The main task of Roßnagel, an expert in technology law, is to protect and enforce citizens' fundamental right to informational self-determination and free access to administrative files. Roßnagel is to take up the post in March 2021 for an initial period of five years.

Ensuring protection and balance of power

"The increasing digitalization of all areas of life is leading to ever more intensive processing of personal data and thus to encroachments on informational self-determination. At the same time, it makes it more difficult to identify risks to fundamental rights, to defend against encroachments on fundamental rights and to find ways to protect oneself. While data-processing agencies in business and public administration know more and more about citizens, data processing is becoming increasingly opaque for them," criticizes the senior professor of public law at the University of Kassel. Here, he says, the data protection commissioner, as an independent authority, must - as far as possible - provide protection and balance power. In a technology-driven world, this is most effective when data protection is already built into information technology systems. What fundamental rights encroachment is not even technically possible no longer needs to be prohibited, prosecuted and sanctioned, he said. "Therefore, one of my most important objectives will be to advocate the design of information technology systems in line with data protection," Roßnagel emphasized. He adds that it is also important to create transparency about the processing of personal data and to educate and raise awareness among data processors, data subjects and the public about risks, specifications, guarantees and rights.

Alexander Roßnagel will remain spokesperson for the interdisciplinary research network "Forum Privatheit" in the coming years, whose continued funding was officially announced by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research at the Forum's annual conference in November. "In order to stay at the cutting edge of development and integrate data protection into applications and products at an early stage, close cooperation with research is important and necessary for supervisory authorities. Conversely, a comparison with the everyday requirements and practical problems of data protection supervisory authorities is also very helpful and fruitful for research," said the renowned scientist.

Prof. Dr. Alexander Roßnagel is Senior Professor of Public Law, Law of Technology and Environmental Protection at the University of Kassel. He heads the Project Group for Constitutionally Compatible Technology Design (provet) there and is director of the Scientific Center for Information Technology Design (ITeG).



Prof. Dr. Alexander Roßnagel
University of Kassel
Department of Public Law
E-mail: a.rossnagel[at]uni-kassel[dot]de