Right to object
Especially in direct marketing, the right to object is important for Data subjects. Direct mail means that consumers receive personalised letters, phone calls or e-mails offering them services or products. Data subjects can object to the use of data for such advertising purposes at any time. Data processing for direct marketing purposes must then be stopped.
Data subjects also have the right to object in two other cases which do not have to concern direct marketing: They can object to data processing if it is based solely on a legitimate interest of companies or is carried out on the basis of a public task. In the case of legitimate interests, controllers may then no longer use the data of the data subjects unless they can prove that their interests outweigh the rights of the data subjects.
In Germany, the Federal Data Protection Act provides for some exceptions to the right to object: This right does not apply if the public interest outweighs the interest of the data subjects or if data processing is required by law. The right to object is also limited if it impairs data processing for scientific research, statistical purposes or archiving purposes in the public interest (see Research purposes).
Article 21 GDPR (Right to object)
1. The data subject shall have the right to object, on grounds relating to his or her particular situation, at any time to processing of personal data concerning him or her which is based on point (e) or (f) of Article 6(1), including profiling based on those provisions. The controller shall no longer process the personal data unless the controller demonstrates compelling legitimate grounds for the processing which override the interests, rights and freedoms of the data subject or for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims.
2. Where personal data are processed for direct marketing purposes, the data subject shall have the right to object at any time to processing of personal data concerning him or her for such marketing, which includes profiling to the extent that it is related to such direct marketing.
3. Where the data subject objects to processing for direct marketing purposes, the personal data shall no longer be processed for such purposes.
4. At the latest at the time of the first communication with the data subject, the right referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 shall be explicitly brought to the attention of the data subject and shall be presented clearly and separately from any other information.
5. In the context of the use of information society services, and notwithstanding Directive 2002/58/EC, the data subject may exercise his or her right to object by automated means using technical specifications.
6. Where personal data are processed for scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes pursuant to Article 89(1), the data subject, on grounds relating to his or her particular situation, shall have the right to object to processing of personal data concerning him or her, unless the processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out for reasons of public interest.
Source: Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (see also recitals 69 and 70)
Section 27(2) BDSG (Data processing for purposes of scientific or historical research and for statistical purposes)
(2) The rights of data subjects provided in Articles 15, 16, 18 and 21 of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 shall be limited to the extent that these rights are likely to render impossible or seriously impair the achievement of the research or statistical purposes, and such limits are necessary for the fulfilment of the research or statistical purposes.
Further, the right of access according to Article 15 of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 shall not apply if the data are necessary for purposes of scientific research and the provision of information would involve disproportionate effort.
Section 28(4) BDSG (Data processing for archiving purposes in the public interest)
The rights provided in Article 18 (1) (a), (b) and (d) and in Articles 20 and 21 of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 shall not apply as far as these rights are likely to render impossible or seriously impair the achievement of the archiving purposes in the public interest, and the exceptions are necessary to fulfil those purposes.
Section 36 BDSG (Right to object)
The right to object according to Article 21 (1) of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 with regard to a public body shall not apply if there is an urgent public interest in the processing which outweighs the interests of the data subject or if processing is required by law.