Archiving, scientific and historical research under German data protection law

Data processing for scientific or historical research and statistical purposes

Sec. 27 BDSG permits data processing without obtaining the data subject’s consent for purposes of scientific or historical research and for statistical purposes. The controller shall take appropriate and specific measures to safeguard the interests of the data subject. The rights of data subjects (Art. 15, 16, 18, 21 GDPR) shall be limited, if necessary for the fulfilment of the research for statistical purposes. If possible, special categories of personal data should be anonymized.

The controller may publish personal data only if the data subject has provided consent, or if doing so is indispensable for the presentation of research findings on contemporary events.

Data processing for archiving purposes in the public interest

Sec. 28 BDSG allows to process data for archiving purposes in the public interest. Some limitations regarding the exercise of the rights of the data subjects exist in such circumstances, e.g., the right of access or the right of the data subject to rectification or the rights according to Art. 18 (1) (a), (b), 20 or 21 GDPR.

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