Disclosure of customer data: lawsuit against Vodafone, Telekom and Telefónica

Disclosure of customer data: lawsuit against Vodafone, Telekom and Telefónica

Status: 07/21/2022 1:39 PM

Consumer advice center NRW has sued three mobile phone providers. Allegation: Corporations will pass on data of respectable customers to credit agencies like Shufa without asking.

It is about data of reputable customers, which are given to credit agencies like Shufa without asking. This is why the North Rhine-Westphalia Consumer Advice Center has now sued Telekom, Vodafone and Telefonica. through research by NDR and “Sudetush Zeitung” The practice of mobile phone providers became public last autumn. Shufa & Co. uses such data to assess consumer solvency.

According to the Consumer Advice Center of North Rhine-Westphalia, mobile phone providers are violating the General Data Protection Regulation and should refrain from doing so. “Credit bureaus also collect information about consumers when they have behaved correctly and in accordance with the contract,” criticizes Wolfgang Schuldzinski, head of the NRW Consumer Advice Center. “However, the protection of consumers concerning excessive processing of their personal data outweighs the economic interests of the companies.”

Positive data also contains sensitive information

Positive data is information that does not include any negative payment experiences or other non-contractual behavior. The subject of transmitted positive data is often when a contract was concluded with whom. The person concerned was not guilty of anything. This distinguishes positive data from so-called negative data, such as information that the invoice has not been paid.

Nevertheless, positive data also contains sensitive information. “Transmission of positive data may seem harmless at first glance, but any information about consumers can be used by companies to make tangible decisions,” explains Schuldzinski. “A person who has multiple cell phone contracts or changes them frequently may be perceived as less trustworthy and therefore not get a contract, even if all bills were paid on time.”

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no data without consent

“Transmission of positive data without the consent of the consumer is not allowed,” Shuldzinski emphasized. “Even with consent, it is essential for companies to provide transparent information and consumers are at a disadvantage by being able to refuse consent without it.”

The NRW Consumer Advice Center isn’t the only one criticizing data transmission. In a joint decision, the Conference of Independent Data Protection Supervisory Authorities of the federal and state governments also took a critical stance on the processing of positive data by mobile phone providers.

get free information

At least once a calendar year, consumers can get free information about their own profile maintained by a credit agency. Incorrect information must be corrected by credit agencies. “Consumers should exercise their authority and regularly ask credit agencies for what purposes personal data is stored, where it comes from and to whom it is sent,” advises Schuldzinski.

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