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Strengthening privacy protection and the processing of personal data

As from the 25th of  May 2018, a new Regulation on the privacy and processing of personal data will enter into force in all Member States.
Frequently DECO receives reports from consumers who receive commercial emails from companies that they do not know and they do not understand why these companies have information about their personal data.

Is this allowed by law?

Currently, Law 46/2012, of the 29th of  August, regulates the processing of personal data and privacy protection in the electronic communications sector and has amended Law 41/2004 of the 18th of  August. Under the terms of this law, it is strictly prohibited to send unsolicited communications for direct marketing purposes without the previous and express authorization of the person who owns the personal data, through automated call and communication systems that do not depend on human intervention. However, the supplier of a particular product or service is allowed to send messages with direct marketing intentions if they have obtained from the consumers, at the time of entering into a contract, the e-mail address which happens whenever we allow for the creation of a file with this data. The consumer has the right to refuse to use his or her e-mail address for these purposes.

In view of the increasing use of electronic communications and the dangers associated with the misuse of personal data, the Commission proposed, on the 10th of January this year, the introduction of strict privacy rules for all electronic communications, which will come into force on the 25th of May 2018.

To whom do these rules apply?

The rules will apply to new providers of electronic communications services, such as Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Gmail, iMessage or Viber. The protection extends to the so-called meta data, namely date, time or location data. Protection against «spam»: The proposal prohibits all unsolicited electronic communications by any means, including electronic mail, SMS and also, in principle, telephone calls if users have not given their express consent .

Who will control the process?

The control of the application of the rules of confidentiality foreseen in the regulation will be the responsibility of the national data protection authorities such as ANACOM and the National Commission of Data Protection.

 

Readers interested in obtaining clarification on consumer law, as well as submitting any problems or situations, may use the DECO Consumer Support Office, by writing to: DECO - Rua Padre Estêvao Cabral, 79-5º, Sala 504, 3000-317 Coimbra.

Tânia Vieira, Lawyer, DECO Coimbra

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