German Website First to Gain EU Privacy Trust Mark

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By Jabeen Bhatti

Sept. 17 — The European Union-funded European Privacy Seal (EuroPriSe) trust mark program has awarded its first certification for a website to the German Federal and State Government Employees Retirement Fund (VBL), confirming that the publicly available sections of the website comply with the requirements of European privacy laws, according to a Sept. 15 statement from EuroPriSe.

“Visitors of can be sure that processing of personal data that results from the interaction between their browsers and VBL's webserver is in line with the EU directives on data protection,” the statement said.

EuroPriSe has for eight years been awarding privacy trust marks for information technology products and services operating in the EU but not until now to a standalone website.

It awarded its first trust mark verifying the compatibility of data processing and collection activities with the EU's Data Protection Directive (95/46/EC) and e-Privacy Directive (2002/58/EC) to a Dutch search engine in 2008. 

In October 2014, it launched a pilot program to address website privacy.

Certified Through August 2017

According to EuroPriSe's statement, technical and legal auditors evaluate website compliance based on criteria that include the usage of cookies, the storage of Internet protocol addresses as well as accessibility to “complete and comprehensive” information for site visitors through legal notices, privacy statements and cookie policies.

In the scheme's “trial run,” auditors concluded Aug. 26 that the VBL site fulfilled the requirements and therefore awarded certification for the public portions of the website until Aug. 31, 2017, subject to the website passing subsequent audits in April 2016 and December 2016.

According to EuroPriSe, experience gleaned from the trial run with VBL will be used to “further develop” its website certification product.

“By establishing concrete requirements and best practice recommendations as well as tools to automate approval processes, the declared goal is to reduce costs and process duration of the certification procedure without having a negative impact on the high quality of certification,” the statement said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jabeen Bhatti in Berlin at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Katie W. Johnson at

The European Privacy Seal for is available at