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Data Privacy Law


Course Type and Contact Hours

Distance learning course via Blackboard + one day workshop

Course Language



6 (if exam has been passed)


This course will be held at irregular intervals, rather in the summer term than in the winter term. It will be available in the summer term 2015.

Time Schedule and Course Venue

The date and place of the workshop will be announced in our electronic course catalogue. The course catalogue for the summer semester will be available on the website http://www.fu-berlin.de/vv from late February to mid August. Please select "Fachbereiche" - "Rechtswissenschaft" - "Staatsexamensstudiengang" and "Rechtswissenschaft" in order to access the Law courses.

Course Description

More and more companies and government agencies find themselves in the press and courtrooms for data privacy and security law violations. Given the rapidly increasing technological options to collect and commercialize personal data, this area of the law is rapidly growing. This course will prepare law students for the challenges and opportunities of international data privacy law, with a particular focus on United States privacy law and European Union data protection law.

Objective of the lectures is to familiarize students with the typical legal problems arising from the conflicting interests in data and privacy in today's global economy and society, in particular in the areas of law enforcement, commerce, media and employment. The significance and practical relevance of domestic, international and foreign national laws is rapidly increasing for individuals, government officials, businesspeople, attorneys, judges, and legislators around the world. We will look at how data processing and laws affect individual privacy in the various areas, including government and private surveillance, press reporting, commercial treatment of financial, health and communications information, and direct marketing.

Topics covered include common law, constitutional and statutory rights and obligations regarding data privacy, data security and legal protection for databases under California, U.S. Federal, European Community, public international and other countries' laws, including, for example, the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Principles, rules on spamming, wiretapping, homeland security, and employee monitoring.

The course materials consist of a collection of cases and reading materials, posted on the Blackboard system, which students will work through independently. During a 'live' session in the last week of May in Berlin, Dr. Determann will meet with students to discuss cases, materials and questions.

Course Registration

Please register via e-mail with Dr. Lothar Determann, Attorney-at-Law (Baker & McKenzie, San Francisco) e-mail: ldetermann@bakernet.com


Grades are awarded based on a written homework assignment (essay style assessment), which students have to complete by June 5.

Registration for the Exam

Students have to register for the exam with the course instructor. They are not required to register formally at the Examination Office.