Is there anything similar to US Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) that is valid for German universities, or education system of Germany in general?

I mostly concerned in preserving student's data in electronic form, e.g. am I allowed to share and collect assignments and test results, say, via Dropbox or own server? I hear in US the online data storage must be FERPA-compliant to preserve privacy in the first place, but I don't know what acts and policies govern this case in Germany.

I understand that many universities use own platforms, such as Moodle, adapted for the current needs, but what should I pay attention to if I want to go beyond?

  • Thanks for your edit. Note that while I do not consider your question for general laws bad or unanswerable, your university may have its own, much stricter policy on these matters and it’s them whom you probably best ask to solve your problem.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Oct 1, 2017 at 12:06
  • @Wrzlprmft Let's assume that there is no explicit policies at the university level (or nobody really cares), so I'd like to find out what higher-level act or directive I should be aware of in this case. And I'm appreciated for your edit too, I'm still not familiar with the tags on ASE.
    – andselisk
    Commented Oct 1, 2017 at 12:15
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    In German a good place to start is the term datenschutz. They tend to take that very seriously. On the other hand I am required to save assignments until the student graduates. So bottom line, you will need to talk to someone locally who can advise you. Commented Oct 1, 2017 at 13:19
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    I would expect more of the legal services. Anyhow I would expect that Dropbox would immediately raise many red flags. Commented Oct 1, 2017 at 13:53
  • 4
    Also look for a datenschutzbeauftragte Commented Oct 1, 2017 at 13:59

1 Answer 1


According to the German Datenschutzgesetz and several state laws, it is forbidden to use private cloud services for storage of personal data. If you are at a university with access to ZENDAS, you can get a review of dropdox here.

A local server is fine, as long as you contact your local "Datenschutzbeauftragten" and announce the service. (S)he might have a form to fill in to evaluate the data security issues resulting from your installation.

Tehre is no specific rule for universities, but the general rules from the German Datenschutzgesetz apply for universities as well.

Platforms like moodle might breake existing German laws, it depends on the configuration of such systems (especially the tracing of activities is a problem).

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