The single contact point
The single contact point (German abbreviation “ZASt”) coordinates the cross-border cooperation of the data protection supervisory authorities of the federal and state governments with the other Member States of the European Union, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) and the European Commission.
In the federal system, which is unique throughout Europe, it enables the supervisory authorities of the EU Member States, the EDPB and the European Commission to communicate and cooperate effectively with the German supervisory authorities without knowledge of the distribution of competences.
Although it is established at the Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (BfDI), the single contact point (ZASt) is organizationally separated from the latter. This is intended to counteract any conflict of interests and ensure that the supervisory authorities of the federal and state governments are treated equally with the flow of information to and from Europe.
The tasks of the single contact point (ZASt) are limited to supporting the federal and state supervisory authorities in their tasks. In doing so, the ZASt does not perform data protection supervisory responsibilities itself. The ZASt is not responsible for the external relationship with citizens, authorities and companies and cannot take action in this regard.
Germany has – unique in Europe – a federal system of data protection supervision, consisting of the Federal Data Protection Commissioner and the data protection authorities of the federal states (“Länder”). In this context, the single contact point serves as an interface to the European level. It ensures the effective involvement of all German supervisory authorities and their smooth cooperation. More: Responsibilities of the Single Contact Point (ZASt)
For controllers with a European establishment, the lead supervisory authority in the Member State of the main establishment is the sole contact point for cross-border data processing (one-stop shop principle). The European supervisory authorities concerned cooperate with each other to ensure uniform application of the law (cooperation procedures) and only the lead supervisory authority plays an active role towards the controller. More: Procedures for the cooperation of supervisory authorities in Germany and Europe according to the GDPR
The single contact point (German abbreviation „ZASt“) is the point of contact for the German and European supervisory authorities, for the European Data Protection Board and the European Commission. Requests from elsewhere, such as citizens' enquiries, do not fall within the area of responsibility of the single contact point and are not handled by it.
More: Contact to the single contact point