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Massive Employee Database Begins Operation

EMPLOYEE PRIVACY—GERMANY

January 6, 2010

In what has been described as Germany's "largest ever data acquisition program," ELENA--a new employment database--began operation on January 1. Employers are required to submit employee income data monthly to the country's ELENA system to track eligibility for social payment programs. Deutsche-Welle reports income data will be aggregated beginning in 2012 whether or not individuals qualify for social welfare benefits. Peter Schaar of Germany's Data Protection and Freedom of Information Commission has sharply criticized the project, saying "I've got a big problem with this. Until now, such information on salary declarations has not appeared, and their general storage in a central file is not legally nor constitutionally allowed."
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