Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland, ProSiebenSat.1 and United Internet Launch European netID Foundation

Karlsruhe/Cologne/Munich, March 22, 2018 – With the launch of the European netID Foundation, the log-in alliance by Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland, ProSiebenSat.1, and United Internet with its brands WEB.DE and GMX is taking concrete shape. As a separate entity, the foundation will help internet providers in all industries to implement the new European data protection law. To this end, it is providing an open industry standard branded "netID", with which every website in Europe can offer its users a secure login pursuant to data protection regulations. At the same time, the foundation ensures the standard's compliance and further development. The European netID Foundation will begin its operations upon approval from the competent foundation authorities.

By appointing Prof. Friedbert Pflüger and Prof. Rolf Schwartmann to the foundation board, the initiators have gained renowned members with expertise in the fields of politics, science, and data protection. The initiators are also represented on the board by Dr. Marcus Dimpfel (Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland), Daniel Prümers (ProSiebenSat.1), and Jan Oetjen (United Internet).

"Data protection is an international issue, so the European netID Foundation is introducing a standard that extends throughout Europe and across multiple industries," said Dr. Marcus Dimpfel, Head of Strategy and Business Development for Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland.

"Data protection and user-friendly services are not mutually exclusive. On the contrary, netID creates a digital service that will facilitate handling of the personal data of millions of internet users in Germany right from the start," said Christof Wahl, Member of the Executive Board, Digital, and COO ProSiebenSat.1 Group.

"There is much interest in our open standard. We are in discussion with well-known companies in nearly every industry segment," said Jan Oetjen, Member of the Management Board United Internet and CEO WEB.DE and GMX.

"Data sovereignty and compliance with European standards have landed at the top of the digital agenda, due in no small part to the EU General Data Protection Regulation and the proposed ePrivacy Regulation. The establishment of a European log-in standard is the right response to this development – I was happy to support it," said Prof. Friedbert Pflüger. The Director of the European Center for Energy and Resource Security (EUCERS) at King's College London is also Chairman of the Internet Economy Foundation (IE.F), a think tank in Berlin.

"European data protection law is holding the economy to account for its business model. As Chairman of Gesellschaft für Datenschutz und Datensicherheit (GDD – German Association for Data Protection and Data Security), which has stood for practicable data protection for over 40 years, I welcome the involvement of the European netID Foundation and am happy to assist with the project," said Prof. Rolf Schwartmann. A lawyer by training, he is the Head of Kölner Forschungsstelle für Medienrecht at Technische Hochschule Köln and Chairman of Gesellschaft für Datenschutz und Datensicherheit e.V. (GDD).

With netID, users will be able to effectively exercise data sovereignty: Each user has a standardized privacy center at their disposal. This is furnished by their account provider and guarantees transparency regarding their personal data. As a result, users can manage their data, change their password, and issue or revoke their consent in just one place. Personal data is not shared between account providers and internet services until after the user has given their consent. Together, the participating companies reach roughly 50 million internet users and already have the critical size for the success of the project.

By using their open approach, the European netID Foundation distinguishes itself significantly from centralized and proprietary ecosystems for user and usage data. The foundation is prepared to further develop the netID standard with other European initiatives at any time.