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03 July 2020
The Belgian Protection Authority (DPA) recently fined a social media platform €50,000 for processing personal data during the scope of a referral programme without an appropriate legal basis.
This decision is particularly relevant because:
Concerning this last point, the facts were as follows. The social media platform requested the consent of its users to import their address books (from other social media platforms or software). Having received consent for the import, the social media platform sent invitations on behalf of its users to their contacts (a 'connect' request for contacts who were already members of the social media platform and a 'join' request for non-members).
The social media platform based the import and sending of these invitations on the consent of its users. However, under the GDPR, only a data subject whose personal data is being processed can give valid consent, unless an exception is provided (eg, parental consent). Therefore, the DPA concluded that the data processing had been performed without an appropriate legal basis.
In this case, a possible legal basis (for the import of address books and the sending of invitations) could be a legitimate interest if all conditions (ie, the proportionality test inherent to the legitimate interest legal basis and the data minimisation principle) are fulfilled. More specifically, the DPA stated in substance that, in this case, the processing would have been considered lawful if:
For further information on this topic please contact Paul Van den Bulck or Isabel Rosendor at AKD by telephone (+32 2 629 42 39) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com). The AKD website can be accessed at www.akd.eu.
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