Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information

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Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information
Bundesbeauftragter für den Datenschutz und die Informationsfreiheit
Abbreviation BfDI
Bundesadler Bundesorgane.svg
Logo of the Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information
Agency overview
Formed 1 January 1978 (39 years ago) (1978-01-01)
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Federal agency
(Operations jurisdiction)
Legal jurisdiction The BfDI is under the supervision of the German Federal Ministry of the Interior and judicial oversight of the German federal government. There is no technical supervision.
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Bonn, Northrhine Westphalia
Agency executive Andrea Voßhoff

The Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (BfDI) is the federal commissioner not only for data protection but also, since commencement of the German Freedom of Information Act on January 1, 2006, for freedom of information. Since 2016, it has been an independent federal agency, in accordance with EU regulations.[1]


Before the commencement of the Act, his title was "Federal Commissioner for Data Protection“ (BfD)".

The German Federal Government nominates him and the German Bundestag elects him. During his time in office, he receives remuneration in the amount commensurate with a federal official in salary group B 9. In this regard, his status is that of a public law official, but not, however, that of a civil servant. The term of office is five years. He can be reelected.

The Federal Commissioner's budget is accounted for in its own chapter. The necessary personnel and facilities are to be made available to him pursuant to legal regulations. Positions at the Federal Commissioner can only be filled with his approval.

The Federal Commissioner executes of his office independently subject only to law. There is no technical oversight (FDPA §22, sec. 4). He is subject to the federal government's legal oversight as well as the Federal Ministry of the Interior's official oversight.


According to the German Federal Data Protection Act (FDPA) (Bundesdatenschutzgesetz (BDSG)), the Federal Commissioner is an independent control entity providing monitoring for data protection in public federal government positions and at corporations, and telecommunications and postal services. He produces a semi-annual activity report.

A right to refuse to give evidence is available to the Federal Commissioner in regard to persons and facts with which comes into contact in his capacity as Federal Commissioner (FDPA §23, sec. 4). He is also authorized to decide about his employees' refusal to give evidence.

The Federal Commissioner monitors (FDPA §24) and advises (FDPA §26, sec. 3) federal civil servants, other public positions at the federal (German) level, telecommunications and the postal service on the grounds of the Telecommunications Act (Telekommunikationsgesetz (German) (TKG)) and postal law (Postgesetz (German) (PostG)). Public organizations that are within the Federal Commissioner's remit include, inter alia, the Federal ministries, the Federal Employment Agency and other federal agencies, and the Federal Police.[2] He advises and monitors implementation of security inspections according to the Security Review Law (Sicherheitsüberprüfungsgesetz (German) (SÜG)), even to the extent that they affect private business.

List of former commissioners[edit]

Andrea Voßhoff Peter Schaar Joachim Jacob Alfred Einwag Reinhold Baumann Hans Peter Bull

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sertan Sanderson (June 17, 2015), Commissioner slams data retention policies Deutsche Welle.
  2. ^ Data protection authorities in Germany North Rhine-Westphalia Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information.

External links[edit]