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Italian Telecom Provider Fined Nearly €17 Million for GDPR Violations; Google Fined €600,000 for Violating the Right to be Forgotten

Client Updates / Jul 30, 2020

Article written by Haim Ravia, Dotan Hammer and Adi Shoval

The Italian Data Protection Authority imposed a fine of 16,729,600 Euros on Wind Tre SpA, an Italian telecom operator, for several instances of unlawful data processing that were mostly related to marketing. Following data subject complaints regarding unsolicited marketing communications made without their consent via texting, emails, faxes, and automated phone calls, the Italian regulator launched an investigation against the telecom operator. The investigation followed an earlier occasion several years ago when the Italian regulator then issued a prohibitory injunction against the company on account of similar infringements when the previous data protection legislation was in force.

The regulator indicated that the investigation showed that the telecom provider’s mobile app “was configured in such a way as to require the user to consent, on each access, to processing for various purposes including marketing, profiling, communication of data to third parties, data enrichment, and geolocation”. Further, data subjects were only able to withdraw their consent after 24 hours.

On a separate occasion of a GDPR violation, the Belgium data protection authority imposed a 600,000 Euro fine on Google for refusing to remove search results relating to harassment claims brought against a data subject, thereby violating that data subject’s GDPR right to be forgotten.

The data subject asked Google to remove links to several news articles about him containing unproven harassment claims and political labels that he claimed were not representative of his beliefs. Google refused to do so, asserting that public interest justifies having the information available.

The Belgium data protection authority found Google’s refusal to delete the search results to be particularly negligent as the information presented there was not been substantiated, is outdated and is likely to have serious repercussions for the complainant. Moreover, the data protection authority explained that Google had evidence on the irrelevant and outdated nature of the facts, yet refused to act.

Google announced that it will appeal against the data protection authority’s decision.

CLICK HERE to read the Italian data protection authority’s press release.

CLICK HERE to read the Belgium data protection authority’s press release (in French).