Germany and the Love of Privacy

This unwillingness to discuss private time with colleagues reveals both the German distaste for small talk, but also the German desire for privacy.

Germans have a clear and robust sense of what should be in the public domain and what should not, and although there are exceptions for good friends, finding out what your colleagues get up to outside of work requires military grade interrogation techniques.

With waterboarding out of the question, I am left with little recourse other than to linguistically trap colleagues into giving away small details of their lives. The excruciating process of trial and error can last for years, until one day a colleague feels comfortable enough to actually tell you directly what they get up to when not at work.

Germans would pay more for their privacy than Americans

A study investigating how people in various countries value their private information has found that Facebook users from Germany would charge the social media platform the most for sharing their personal data.

The study, by US-based think-tank the Technology Policy Institute (TPI), is the first to attempt to quantify the value of online privacy and data. And for the study, it assessed how much privacy is worth in six countries by looking at the habits of people in the US, Germany, Mexico, Brazil, Columbia and Argentina.

It addresses the growing concern about how companies, from platforms such as Facebook to retailers, have been collecting and monetising personal data. Due to this, US regulators have imposed hefty fines on Facebook Inc and Alphabet-owned Google’s YouTube unit for privacy violations.

Be careful with e-mails with an open mailing list

This error can result in a hefty fine. A small mistake when sending an e-mail can quickly cost thousands of euros. You can find out here how you can avoid getting into a sticky situation in the first place.

At least since the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), all sorts of legal stumbling blocks have been lurking in the handling of personal data. Such a mistake can also happen quickly when sending e-mails – and without realizing it.

How to use cc and bcc correctly

The fact that daily e-mail traffic becomes a time-waster for many office workers is often due to the careless handling of the cc and bcc fields. Do you know that too? They emailed information to a specific distribution group and cc’ed all of them.

And then you get some replies to your email. Such an approach is a common and annoying mistake in business email traffic. Often enough, it also happens that colleagues randomly fill in the CC or BCC line with addresses – the message could be of interest to more than just the actual recipient.

In this way, mailboxes are clogged up by bystanders, who have more work to do as a result. Show that professional handling of the cc and bcc looks different! When sending your email, always ask yourself: Who really needs to receive the message? Who is the addressee of the message? And who only gets to know them?

Against the German pettiness in data protection!

High time to start the argument for changes – the topic must not remain taboo.

Criticism of the US would be more credible if we, at least in Europe, had the same understanding of privacy and data protection. But that is by no means the case, as not only surveys show.

If all EU members had converted the 1995 data protection directive into national law in the same way and if all national supervisory authorities had interpreted the regulations in the same way, then most American “data octopuses” would hardly have settled in Ireland. 28 member states of the European Union, that also meant: 28 different views of data protection! So there was no question of Europe speaking with one voice to the US.

Holschuld. Bringschuld. German law.

Holschuld: get obligation. Bringschuld: deliver obligation.

What is the difference between a debt to collect, a debt to bring and a debt to send?
In the case of a debt to be collected, the place of performance is with the debtor – the owed item must be picked up there by the creditor.

In the case of an obligation to deliver, the place of performance or fulfillment is with the creditor. The debtor must therefore pay at the domicile of the creditor. If there is a debt to be sent, the debtor must also send it.

The distinction is particularly important when it comes to the question of transport or shipment costs and the question of the transfer of the risk of the loss of the goods (e.g. if a package is lost in the post).

What is Bringschuld?

According to German law (§ 269 BGB) the obligation to deliver is one of the three types of obligation that determine the place of performance. In this case, the debtor must render the service at the creditor’s place of residence. This is where performance success also occurs.

Ms. X would like to redecorate her apartment and buys a couch from a furniture store. Due to the nature of the purchase contract, the company owes Mrs. X the delivery of the piece of furniture. The debt is only settled in Ms. X’s apartment, until then the furniture company is liable for the loss of or damage to the goods.

Information in the project – Holschuld or Bringschuld?

Holschuld from holen, to get and Schuld, obligation. You are obligated to get or ask for the information. Bringschuld from bringen, to bring, provide, give and Schuld, obligation. You are obligated to bring, provide, give the information.

“I didn’t know that!” – “But that’s on the intranet. You should have known that! After all, information is a debt to be collected!”

This or something similar is a dialogue that is heard again and again between project employees and project managers. Whereby instead of “Intranet” there can also be “Project drive”, “SharePoint” or another medium.

Is that really true? Is information in the project really the responsibility of the project staff?

I think the project manager (or the project office) makes things too easy here. I can’t throw all the information out at the employees’ door and then expect them to pick out the ones that are relevant to them. So that we understand each other correctly: the project manager can expect his employees to read meeting minutes or other periodicals regularly if they know where to find the latest issue.

But they won’t, and shouldn’t, bother to sift out “out of line” information that affects them from the jumble of information. That’s not their job. You should work on the project, any other approach would slow down the project.

Information Management – Holschuld

Wikipedia – Information management uses the legal terms Holschuld (obligation to collect) and Bringschuld (obligation to deliver) for the information behavior of persons or personnel who have to collect information, messages or knowledge from the owner of the information in a timely and complete manner and in a suitable form or to forward it to another person.

According to the sender-receiver model, work instructions, service instructions or a manager must clarify in advance which information is required to be retrieved (pull) and for which information is required to be delivered (push) and who is responsible for the transmission of information. There is an obligation to deliver if the sender is the initiator of the information forwarding. In the case of an obligation to collect, the recipient is the initiator and must make an effort to obtain information from a source.

As a rule, information and messages are the responsibility of the person who received this information. He must decide to which addressees it is to be passed on. In hierarchical organizations, the reporting obligation (obligation to provide) is imposed on the respective lower level, which has to report to the higher level. Management must then inform the board accordingly. Since the supervisory board should obtain all relevant information in a better and more detailed manner, it has to actively demand the executive board’s obligation to provide it and to meet its obligation to collect it to a greater extent.