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Everything that changes in Germany in May 2018

From a new EU-wide law that better protects consumers' data to good news for some tax payers, here's what is changing this month.

Everything that changes in Germany in May 2018
The police will now being saving flight data for longer. Photo: DPA

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WhatsApp changes age to sign up

Previously anyone could use the popular messaging service WhatsApp as long as they were over 13 years old. But starting on May 25th teenagers within the EU need to be at least 16 years old before they can sign up for the service, which is owned by Facebook, or else will require the approval of their parents. Anyone who downloads WhatsApp over their Smartphone will be prompted to give their age.

Stricter data protection in the EU

Starting on May 25th, the new EU-wide General Protection Data Regulation (GDPR) goes into effect, giving citizens and residents greater control over their data. The first EU-wide regulation of its kind, private data may no longer be used (by apps or companies, for example), without the data subject having expressly consented to it. Furthermore, data distribution to third parties and the purpose of it will also be required to be disclosed, with the duration of the data storage no longer kept a secret.

Crackdown on mandatory Beitragsservice fee dodgers

Starting May 6th, there will be a crackdown on those who have been dodging the mandatory monthly fee of €17.50 for TV and radio broadcasters. On this date, data from the residents' registration offices will be passed on to the fee collection service of ARD, ZDF and Deutschlandradio (commonly referred to as the Beitragsservice). Those who have been trying to get out of paying the fee will be contacted via post after an evaluation of the data.

Photo: DPA

Tax deadline extended by a day in some states

Residents of the states of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Saxony and Thuringia have one day longer to submit their taxes. Since May 31st is a holiday (Corpus Christi), the tax declaration will not have to be ready to submit until June 1st.

Saved flight data for international flights

Starting on May 25th, the Federal Criminal Police Office will be saving passenger data for five years as part of their mission to crack down on terrorism and serious crime. For all flights heading outside of Germany, the passenger’s name, flight route, telephone number, credit card number, number of pieces of luggage and co-travellers will be saved and shared with other investigative bodies within the EU.

Raised minimum wage for some professions in Germany

Starting May 1st, the minimum wage will be increasing for painters and varnishers. Those with skilled training in the profession can expect to receive at least 13.30 in western Germany and 12.40 in the eastern part of Germany. However, craftsmen without training can expect to bring in at least 10.60 per hour, up from 10.30.

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