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Data protection for businesses

Data protection for businesses

What conditions need to be met before I can use third-party addresses to attract new customers?
The German Federal Data Protection Act (BDSG) permits the use of personal data for the purpose of listbroking or advertising provided that the persons concerned have given their consent (Sec. 28 (3) Sentence 1 BDSG, “consent proviso”). However, you may also use or process personal data relating to a group of persons that has been compiled as a list or summarized in any other way and the data concerned is limited to the following: designation of profession, industry or business; name; academic or other title; address and year of birth (Sec. 28 (3) Sentence 2 BDSG “list privilege”).

Even if a party concerned has not given his/her consent, you may nevertheless use that party’s personal data in certain cases:

When you are sending advertising material to your own customers or interested parties (Sec. 28 (3) Sentence 2 No. 1 BDSG).

When you are using addresses available from publicly available directories or publicly accessible sources (Sec. 28 (3) Sentence 2 No. 1 and Sec. 29 (1) BDSG).

When you are sending advertising material to businesses (Sec. 28 (3) Sentence 2 No. 2 BDSG).

When you are soliciting from the recipients donations for charitable organisations that are entitled to tax relief under German income tax law (Sec. 28 (3) Sentence 2 No. 3 BDSG).

If none of these exceptions apply, use will be permissible only in those cases where your advertising clearly states the source of the data (Sec. 28 (2) Sentence 2 No. 4 and No. 5 BDSG, “transparent use” and “transparent transmission”).
What do I need to bear in mind for my mailing?
In cases where none of the exceptions to the consent proviso apply, your advertising material will have to specify the name of the party responsible for the data you deploy (name of the business along with an address to which a court summons can be served).
You may not send anyone advertising material against their will. You are therefore obliged to inform recipients that they are entitled to object at any time to the use of their data for advertising purposes. We recommend combining this notice with the name of the party responsible. We would be pleased to send you a sample wording for this purpose. More information on this topic can also be found in the DDV’s Best Practice Guide “Datenschutz im Dialogmarketing” (Data Protection in Dialogue Marketing), which can be obtained (in German language) here.

For you, this will also mean

that you have to include the address details of persons who have objected to the use of their address for advertising purposes in a blackfile. The addresses to be used in a mailing will have to be checked against this list before the mailing is dispatched.

that you have to inform the owner of each address of the objection to advertising received. This will enable him to block the addresses for further use for advertising purposes by third parties.

“Commissioned Data Processing and Data Treatment“ (DDV-VE) are obliged to use the current Robinson List for third-party data. The Robinson List contains details of those persons who do not wish to receive addressed advertising material. When this list is used, you will receive fewer inquiries from the mailing recipients which need to be responded to, saving time and money as well as the advertising expenses for people who would not respond to your advertising anyway.
What do I need to bear in mind when making my addresses available to other businesses?
As the owner of the addresses and the “party responsible”, you will be responsible for the user of the addresses complying with the provisions of the BDSG. Pursuant to Sec. 11 BDSG you are obliged to select parties to which data is outsourced for processing (IT centres, letter shops, call centres, etc.) with due care, taking into account the suitability of the technical and organisational measures taken by the service providers to maintain data protection. The options are to inspect the premises of the service provider on site yourself or rely on “certifications” and similar documents as evidence of suitability.
One example of evidence of this kind is the seal of approval issued by the DDV (the German Dialogue Marketing Association – Deutscher Dialogmarketing Verband e.V.) for data processing, letter shops, list brokerage, fulfilment companies and address publishers – or alternatively the seals of approval issued by the TÜV and comparable organisations. Alternatively, service providers can sign a DDV-VE to pledge to certain minimum requirements relating to the protection and handling of personal data. Do not authorise any services relating to the processing of your addresses from a provider that is not able to provide the necessary certification.
Any contracts to rent out addresses must at all events be in written form and contain certain details to enable you to meet your obligations to due diligence and to fulfil the requirements of the BDSG. These requirements apply irrespective of whether your contract is directly with the advertiser or was received through a list broker or an agency. The details required include:
– The name and address of the mailer
– The names and addresses of the service providers contracted with processing the data
– What means of advertising is to be dispatched
– The exact mail date
– Whether the addresses are to be stored or qualified in an additional manner (scoring, mail response analysis, etc.)

Our services for you:


Certified quality and security: Liebetrau Listservice has been certified with the list brokerage seal of quality issued by Deutscher Dialogmarketing Verband e.V. (DDV).

Active complaint management: We research the source of an address and send an information letter to the parties concerned on your behalf. The owners of the addresses concerned are informed and requested to block the respective addresses.

Undertakings: For every list order, we check whether there is a DDV-VE for all service providers concerned. If this is not the case, we will obtain the necessary documents.

Data protection legislation: We will keep you informed without delay of any important changes in the law relating to addressed advertising (we do not provide legal advice, however).

Right to object and duty to ensure transparency: We will help you find the wording suitable for your advertising.