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Spanish Data Protection Agency Fines Orange EU50,000

Source: FACUA - Sun 15th Mar 2015
Spanish Data Protection Agency Fines Orange EU50,000

The Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) has imposed a EU50,000 fine on Orange for the ilegal use of client personal information after José Guillermo San Miguel, of Spanish Consumer Association FACUA, to a bad debtors' list.

This was despite the fact the bill in question had been incorrectly applied by Orange, and twice cancelled.

José Guillermo agreed on a ADSL and landline service with Orange on May 5, 2012, but he soon realised that the service didn't work at the speed advised, so he requested the cancellation of the service within the legal 7 day period. Nevertheless, following the cancelation, 2 bills for ‘services recieved' for the sum of EU37.67 and EU36.52 were sent, with no replies forthcoming when he complained to the provider.

On October 2012, the company admitted the mistake and cancelled the 2 bills. However, 12 months later, Orange threatened José Guillermo with including him in an insolvency database if he did not settle the alleged debt of EU186.64.

FACUA complained in the name of their associate once more, and again the company admitted their mistake and guaranteed they would withdraw the bill. Despite this, José Guillermo was included in the bad debtors' list on March 2013 because he hadn't paid a bill of EU186.64 dated on November 2012.

The association decided then to report Orange to the AEPD for irregularly transferring the personal information of José Guillermo to the mentioned database just because he had allegedly incurred in a debt.

AEPD considers this as a "serious" offence, according to the classification stipulated in Article 44.3.c of Personal Data Protection Act (Organic Law 15/1999, of December 13, of Personal Data Protection).

On its decision, AEPD considers that "the continuous nature of the offence is out of question, since the information has been used contravening the principle of quality of data". In addition, all the infringements made "when irregularly using the data define the level of intention, since the organisation did not take any measures of control to avoid the facts from happening".

These two reasons : the continuous nature of the offence and the level of intention, made AEPD decide that this is a serious infraction that, according to Article 45.4 of Personal Data Protection Act, is punishable with a fine of EU40,001 to EU500,000.

FACUA commented on the ridulous nature of the fine, considering how many times Orange is in breach the law.

AEPD's decision also notes that, since Orange has been sanctioned many times for similar infringements, and that "the proceedings introduced have not been effective so that makes us think that [the infringement] is not a proceeding malfunction but a clear breach", the fine can be set in 50,000 Euros.

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