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Make a PSI request for re-use in Germany

 

 

This is the second post on how to make a PSI request in the EU member states. In the first one, “What is a “request for re-use”? And how do we make it right?“, we have clarified what is a PSI request and how to make it in French, this time we will examine how the things work in Germany.


First of all a brief overview of the legislation in force.

In Germany the legal framework concerned data processed or held by public sector bodies is quite complex and not exactly crisp: access to information and re-use is included in several specific laws that may be federal or regional laws.

For instance at national level, we have:

  • Transposition of the PSI Directive, Informationsweiterwendungsgesetz (IWG) of 13.12.2006, last amended on 08/07/2015
  • Freedom of Information Act (IFG) of 01.01.2006, last amended on 07.08.2013
  • Environmental Information Act (UIG) of 22.12.2004, last amended on 27.10.2014
  • Consumer Information Act (VIG) of 05.11.2007, last amended on 07.08.2013
  • Federal law on access to geographic data (Gesetz über den Zugang zu digitalen Geodaten -Geodatenzugangsgesetz (GeoZG) from 10.02.2009, last changed on 07.11.2012
  • Law for the advancement of digital public administration, Gesetz zur Förderung der elektronischen Verwaltung (E-Government-Gesetz - EGovG) 05/07/2017.

 

At regional level, we have:

  • Land Information Freedom Act Baden-Württemberg (LIFG) of 30.12.2015
  • Berlin Freedom of Information Act (IFG) of 15.10.1999, last amended on 06/23/2015
  • File Access and Information Access Act Brandenburg (AIG) of 10.03.1998, last changed on 15.10.2013
  • Bremen Freedom of Information Act (BremIFG) of 16.05.2006, last amended on 05/03/2015
  • Hamburg Transparency Act (HmbTG) of 06.10.2012
  • Freedom of Information Act Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (IFG MV) from 10.07.2006, last changed on 20.05.2011
  • Freedom of Information Act North Rhine-Westphalia (IFG NRW) of 27.11.2001, last changed on 16.10.2014.

 

As you may have noticed, in Germany there is a Freedom of Information Act (IFG) since 2006, but it only applies to the federal authorities. In fact, Germany is a federal state consisting of 16 Länder. It is up to the Länder parliaments whether to adopt the IFG; as a result, some Länder (Bavaria, Hesse, Lower Saxony and Saxony) have not yet adopted the IFG.

The question is even more complex considering that several municipalities have introduced a freedom of information Statute; for instance, in Bayern they are around 80 (source: https://informationsfreiheit.org/). 

So, given this complicated web of rules, how to make a PSI request to a German public sector body?
Fortunately, it is simpler as it seems. 

An easy way to make a re-use request to a German public sector body

Thanks to a very active community of people devoted to the freedom of information, you can leverage a non-profit online platform, fragdenstaat.de.
  

This platform, active since 2011, allows you to make a request to a German public sector body in a matter of a few clicks.

Just click on “Anfrage stellen” on the header of the main page, look for the public sector body which owns the information you want leveraging the internal database of bodies and finally complete a lean form.

 

 

Once you have added the request, the platform forwards it to the public sector body. You will receive a notification email as soon as the body replies to your request.

The request is archived on a public available database just like the PSI Monitor. In fact, the most recent requests are automatically loaded also in the PSI Monitor database.

Pay attention to the form: it considers that you are making a request under IFG/UIG/VIG legislation and not under IWG (i.e. Informationsweiterverwendungsgesetz, the transposition of the PSI Directive). Therefore it is better to specify it in the text of the request.

See as a reference the following requests:

https://fragdenstaat.de/anfrage/iwg-antrag-ergebnisse-fruherer-bundestagswahlen/

https://fragdenstaat.de/anfrage/iwg-antrag-tabellen-aus-bundestags-drs-1813360/

https://fragdenstaat.de/anfrage/antrag-izgiwg-informationen-isa-portal/

In particular, the last one represents an interesting case study of a successful request after an initial refusal by the public sector body involved.

 

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