Doctoral thesis supervision
Processing of personal data of consumers by credit agencies. A legal comparison between Austria and Germany
Credit reference agencies process a large amount of personal data in order to conduct creditworthiness assessments of data subjects and to provide them to companies that want to offer advance services to consumers (e.g. purchase on account, credit). In connection with such processing, a multitude of data protection issues arises. These issues have gained renewed relevance under the GDPR, as several requests for preliminary rulings to the CJEU show. In Austria and Germany, credit reference agencies have been of considerable economic relevance for decades and have prompted a large number of decisions by supervisory authorities and courts. These Member States are therefore particularly suitable for comparative legal considerations. The research project intends to explore the limits of permissibility of data processing by credit reference agencies under data protection law. In particular, the extent to which new solutions for Austria can be developed with regard to the German legal situation is to be established by way legal comparison.
Legitimate aims for the interference with fundamental rights
The question of the legitimacy of specific aims justifying interferences in fundamental rights arises at national and international level. For both the Austrian Constitutional Court (ACC) and the ECtHR, the question of “public interest” or a “legitimate aim” is formally at the beginning of assessing the violation of a fundamental right. However, the terminology for this step of the assessment and the approach differ depending on the fundamental right under examination, the underlying legal sources and the case law of the ACC and EGMR. The meaning, function and effect of this restriction to certain aims as well as the distinction of the different terms from different legal sources and case law remain unanswered. In addition, it is of interest how the aim of the intervention is defined and what role the different actors, in particular the supreme courts, the legislature, the government that takes part in the proceedings, have in determining the aim of the intervention.
The protection of the data of legal entities in Liechtenstein and Austria
Domestic data protection laws in Liechtenstein and Austria covered the data of legal entities and the data of natural persons until the implementation of the EU General Data Protection Regulation. The GDPR did, however, not provide protection of the data of legal persons. The thesis addresses the question, whether the enactment of the GDPR resulted in a change in the level of protection for data of legal entities. Selected aspects are analysed, in particular the fundamental right of data protection for legal entities, data protection for legal entities through statutory laws, data protection for legal persons resulting from the EU Trade Secrets Directive as well as the legal protection in the event of a possible violation.
The processing of health data for scientific purpose in contrast to the right to individual legal protection - a comparative analysis of the French and Austrian legal approach
Legal systems regulating the disclosure of public healthcare records for scientific data processing bear multiple inherent challenges, especially regarding fundamental rights; EU-primary law and the General Data Protection Regulation will be analysed in depth. The dissertation aims to elaborate how these legal requirements are being addressed under different legal frameworks. The comparative analysis of the French and Austrian legal system focuses on the regulation of scientific data processing of public healthcare records.
Since the French model follows an activity-based monitoring approach to data processing, whereas the Austrian model favours a institution-based regulatory approach regarding its health data processing. Both systems are perfectly suitable for a comparative analysis in the field of healthcare data processing for scientific purposes. This thesis focusses primarily on the aspect of legal conformity, contrasting both systems in terms of their compliance with the requirements imposed by basic fundamental rights. Subsequently, the dissertation elaborates an alternative model to the current Austrian regulatory model for scientific data processing of data stemming from public health records, as the Austrian system privileges scientific research in this regard.
Regulatory objectives of commercial professional law
From the perspective of the individual, the provisions regulating commencement and exercise of commercial activities in the Austrian Industrial Code present themselves as encroachments on their freedom to carry on a business, which is protected by fundamental rights. As interferences with fundamental rights, they must serve certain public interests. The first step of the research project is to examine which regulatory objectives underlie the Austrian Industrial Code. In particular, the focus is on the certificate of proficiency, which represents both the central steering instrument of the Austrian Industrial Code as well as the primary entry barrier for starting a commercial activity. Building on the findings from the examination of the regulatory objectives, the constitutional conformity of the qualification system should then be analyzed in a second step.