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Privacy Protection Statement of the University of Cologne

The University of Cologne takes the protection of your personal data very seriously. We want you to know when we store which data and how we use it when you visit the website of the University of Cologne. Personal data are collected on the central web server of the University ( only to the necessary extent. Under no circumstances will the data collected be sold or passed on to third parties for any reason.
The following statement in accordance with Chapter 13 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) gives you an overview of how we guarantee this protection and what kinds of data are collected for what purposes.

1. Name and contact of responsible person

Responsible for the processing of personal data for the operation of this website is:

The University of Cologne
Public Body (Körperschaft öffentlichen Rechts)
represented by the Rector

50923 Köln
+49 221 / 470-0

2. Contact of the Data Protection Officer

Data Protection Officer of the University of Cologne
50923 Köln
+49 221 / 470-3872

3. Purposes, duration, and legal basis of the processing of personal data

3.1    Web protocols of the central WWW server

The University of Cologne collects and automatically stores information your browser sends in the protocol files of the web server. This includes:

  • browser type and version
  • computer name or IP address of the accessing computer
  • time of the request to the server
  • requested website

The temporary storage of the IP address by the system is necessary to enable the website to be delivered to your computer. To do this, the IP address of your computer must remain stored for the duration of the session.

In addition, the data helps us to ensure the security of our information technology systems and to optimize our website. An evaluation of the data for marketing purposes does not take place in this context.

Of the above data, the IP address is considered to be personal. Your IP address will be stored for a maximum of 7 days and then completely anonymized (deleted or alienated). After that time, the above data is no longer personal. It shall be deleted as soon as it is no longer necessary to achieve the purpose for which it was collected.

The legal basis for the temporary storage of data and log files is Chapter 6 Art. 1 (f) of the GDPR, because the University of Cologne has a legitimate interest in identifying and eliminating malfunctions and in optimizing its website.

3.2 Cookies

Cookies in general
We use so-called cookies in various places on the University’s website. Cookies are small text files that your browser stores on your computer and sends to our server when you visit our pages. Cookies do not cause any damage to your computer and do not contain any viruses. They make our website more user-friendly, effective, and secure. The cookies we use are so-called session cookies, which are automatically deleted at the end of your visit. You have full control over the use of cookies: By changing the settings in your Internet browser, you can deactivate or restrict the use of cookies. Cookies that have already been saved can be deleted at any time. This can also be done automatically. If cookies are deactivated for our website, it may no longer be possible to use all functions in full.

This website uses Matomo (previously Piwik), a software that statistically analyses user access. Matomo uses cookies to allow for an analysis of how you are using the website. The information generated by the cookie about your use of the website is stored on the server of the University of Cologne in Germany. Your IP address will be made anonymous immediately after processing and before it is stored. On our website we offer you the possibility to opt-out of the analysis procedure. In this way, another cookie is placed in your system which signals our system not to store your data. If you delete the corresponding cookie from your system in the meantime, the opt-out cookie must be set again.
More information on the Matomo software’s privacy settings can be found here:

On some of the University’s websites, we place ads in cooperation with the company VariFast GmbH (based in Germany) and using the ad server of Adition AG (based in Germany). Session cookies and temporary cookies are also used here. They serve to statistically measure the number of visitors and to limit the numerically determined delivery of advertising material. For technical reasons, your IP address will also be forwarded to these two companies. All data, including IP addresses, are recorded there anonymously and only for statistical reasons.

By clicking on the link for cookie opt-out, the collection of anonymized data is stopped. In this case, ADITION replaces the current cookie with a new opt-out cookie. This opt-out cookie deletes the information previously stored, including the IP address, and prevents further collection of anonymous information. If this opt-out cookie is deleted, ADITION can no longer determine that an opt-out has taken place. In this case, the opt-out process must be repeated.

Other measuring methods
Some sub-pages use other methods (e.g. Google Analytics) to measure their reach, the number of visitors, and the way users use the pages. These pages will inform you about the special features of these systems under data protection law.

Legal basis
The legal basis for processing the personal data of users in connection with the use of cookies is Chapter 6 Art. 1 (f) of the GDPR, because the University has a legitimate interest in understanding how and how often our websites are accessed as well as in placing advertisement on our pages.

3.3 Social Media

We offer our users so-called share opportunities with social media platforms (e.g. Facebook, Google, Twitter, YouTube, etc.).

These platforms can temporarily be embedded on using so called plugins.

By integrating the plugins, Facebook, for example, receives the information that a user with a certain IP address is visiting the website at a given moment. If you are logged in to Facebook at the same time, your visit to can be assigned to your Facebook account. In this way, your friends are also displayed in this plugin. You can read and change the purpose and scope of data collection, further processing and use of the data by Facebook, as well as your rights and settings options for the protection of your privacy, in the data protection information of Facebook.
If you access one of our pages with such a plugin, your browser establishes a direct, short connection to its servers. This is primarily used to display the content of the plugin (for example the friend box). In this case, the cooperation partner will know your IP address and other device-related things. In practice, this information cannot easily be assigned to you by name. Under certain circumstances, the cooperation partner may also place a cookie on your computer, which is deleted when you close your browser (see the section on cookies). You can decide this yourself in the browser settings by accepting or rejecting cookies.

Recommend buttons
For the recommend (Facebook), Twitter, and +1 (Google) buttons – which you will find on many pages – we have set up a two-step solution (the so-called 2click concept by heise): To recommend or share the content on a page of, you first have to click on the button and activate it. Only then is a connection with the Facebook, Twitter or Google servers established, allowing you to recommend the contribution to your friends with a second click.

3.4 Newsletter subscription and other input masks

On some sub-pages you can store your email address to subscribe to a specific newsletter (a regular or occasional newsletter delivered by email).

In this case, the operator of the respective sub-page is responsible.

The sole purpose of the data processing is to deliver the newsletter to the email address provided. The email address is stored and used until you cancel your subscription or the newsletter is discontinued. You can find out how to unsubscribe from the newsletter with just a few clicks on the sub-page where you can subscribe. Usually this is also possible at the end of each newsletter.

The legal basis is your consent, which you give when ordering the newsletter (Chapter 6 Art. 1 (a) of the GDPR).

Other input masks
Some sub-pages offer services that you are required to use as a student or employee. If you have to register online, only data necessary for the use of the service will be collected. The legal basis is then the legal fulfilment of the university’s tasks (Chapter 6 Art. 1 (e) of the GDPR in conjunction with Section 3 Higher Education Act of North-Rhine-Westphalia – HG NRW). You will receive more detailed information on data protection in connection with the respective service.
Some sub-pages offer services that you can use voluntarily. If you can or must register online, only data necessary for the use of the service will be collected from you. The legal basis is your consent (Chapter 6 Art. 1 (a) of the GDPR). You will receive more detailed information about data protection in connection with the respective service.

4. Search function

The search field on our website ("Search with Google") is provided by Google nc. (Custom Search Engine, CSE). You acknowledge and agree that Google's Privacy Policy ( applies to your use of the search box.

By entering a search term in the search box and then pressing the enter key or the search icon (magnifying glass icon), you activate the search function and the search results page is called up, which loads the corresponding search results from Google using a plugin provided by Google. This involves the transmission of data to the search service, including, for example, the search terms you enter and the IP address of the computer you are using.

If you do not wish to give this consent, please refrain from using the search. Data will only be transmitted when the form is sent.

If you are logged in to Google at the same time, the Google service is able to assign the information directly to your user profile. You should log out to avoid collecting personal profile information.

5. Your rights

Every person affected by the processing of personal data has the right, in accordance with the legal provisions, to request free information or confirmation from us regarding the personal data stored about him or her.

In addition, you have the right to the immediate correction or deletion of incorrect personal data concerning you, or to the restriction of the processing, or to object to the processing. (However, the collection of data for the provision of the website and the storage of data in log files is necessary for the operation of the website. Consequently, there is no possibility of objection in this respect.)

You can revoke your consent to the processing of personal data at any time. This does not affect the legality of the University’s processing of your data on the basis of your consent until your revocation.
Data subjects have the right to request information regarding their personal data in a structured, common and machine-readable format and to transmit it to other persons responsible.

We are happy to answer your questions regarding the processing of your personal data at any time. If you would like to know which personal data we store about you or your pseudonym, or if you have questions that this data protection statement could not answer, or if you would like more detailed information on a particular point, please contact us, preferably using our contact address: webmaster(at) If you communicate by email, we cannot guarantee the complete confidentiality of the provided information. If your information is confidential, please send it to us by post.
In addition, without prejudice to any other administrative or judicial remedy, an appeal may be lodged with a Member State supervisory authority if there are doubts as to the lawfulness of the processing of personal data. The regulatory authority of the University of Cologne is:

The State Officer for Data Protection and Freedom of Information of North Rhine-Westphalia
(Landesbeauftragte für Datenschutz und Informationsfreiheit Nordrhein-Westfalen)
Postfach 20 04 44
40102 Düsseldorf
+49 211/38424-0
Fax: +49 211/38424-10