Depending on the country you live or reside in there are several institutions you can get more information from if you have a problem relating to privacy and data protection. All EU countries have some sort of national or regional Data Protection Agency which offers information and guidance on data protection issues.

Furthermore, many Civil Society Organisations offer information on current issues and sometimes also evaluate the privacy of services (such as messenger apps) and devices. To raise awareness of issues such as governmental surveillance several corporations issue “transparency reports” to inform the public. Many corporations also have employees who work on data protection issues within the company. This will become obligatory once the EU General Data Protection enters into force from June 2018.

These are all venues you can explore and people you can contact before contacting a lawyer or thinking about other legal actions.

Additionally, the European Union has setup an online mechanism which allows businesses and consumers to settle disputes without courts. The site is available in all official languages of the EU and can be found via https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/odr/. This “online dispute resolution” mechanism can be used for consumers to make a complaint against a trader.

Everything can be done online in four basic steps: 1. Submit a complaint, 2. Agreeing on a dispute resolution body, 3. Complaint handling by the dispute resolution body, 4. Outcome and closure of complaint.