The consumer association Verbraucherzentrale NRW is taking legal action against Telekom, Telefónica and Vodafone. All three communications operators are passing on positive data to credit agencies – in violation of the GDPR.
Data transmission without consent
The consumer center NRW announced in a statement that the reason for the lawsuit against the three communications companies is the transfer of positive data to credit agencies. So-called positive data is not information about missed payments, but very general data. This data includes, for example, information about when someone signed a contract with the company. Wolfgang Schuldzinski, head of the consumer center NRW, explained in a press release why such an approach is problematic: “The transmission of positive data may seem harmless at first glance, but any information about consumers:inside can be used by companies to make tangible decisions.” For example, frequently changing contracts can lead to a person being considered unreliable and being turned away in the future – even though all contractual agreements have been honored at all times.
Violation of GDPR
Central with regard to the accusation of the Verbraucherzentrale NRW is the fact that the transfer of positive data is(e) carried out without the consent of the persons concerned. According to Schuldzinski, this is inadmissible in accordance with the GDPR. The credit agencies and the transferring companies do have economic interests in the transfer of the data; however, the personal interests of the data subjects outweigh these economic interests, so that the transfer is initially impermissible. Schuldzinski also pointed out that transparency must prevail even if consent has been given. It must be possible to withdraw consent at any time without any resulting disadvantages. So far, social media such as Facebook have been the focus of the courts due to violations of data protection regulations. The current case shows that not only the Internet is affected by the GDPR.
According to information from the NRW Consumer Center, the action now being brought before the Munich Regional Court was preceded by a warning against the three companies mentioned, which, however, did not lead to a change in behavior. After the compensation that Telekom received in the dispute with the EU Commission at the beginning of the year, this is now bad news for the company.