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MEP Sophie In’t Veld sent letter to EDPB and Commission on questionable Spanish implementation of the GDPR

Holiday Special, 17 December 2018 Issue

Sophie In’t Veld, a member of the European Parliament and a fierce defender of civil liberties, has sent a letter to the European Data Protection Board and questions to the EU Commission following the adoption of a law in Spain which allows political parties to use voters’ sensitive personal data without explicit consent during electoral campaigns. This measure, which would appear to contradict the GDPR, was included – well, that’s awkward – in the legislation that implements the GDPR.

Below are the questions sent to the Commission. You can read the letter send to the EDPB here.

On 21 November 2018, the Spanish Parliament passed a data protection law adapting Spanish legislation to the GDPR. The law contains a provision allowing political parties to use citizens’ personal data that has been obtained from web pages and other publicly accessible sources when conducting political activities during election campaigns. Moreover, it authorises political parties to send citizens messages via social media and ‘equivalent media’ without prior consent. Citizens can opt out if they do not wish their data to be processed. However, even if citizens do object to receiving political messages, they could still be profiled on the basis of their political opinions, philosophical beliefs or other special categories of personal data that fall under the GDPR.

— Does the Commission agree that this provision can lead to dangerous situations where personal information is collected without prior consent and used for electoral purposes — if not, why not?
— Does it consider that this provision complies with the GDPR, in particular Recital 56 and Articles 5, 6, 9, 21 and 22 thereof, and with the ePrivacy Directive — if so, why ?
— If it does not consider that the provision complies with the GDPR, will it start an infringement procedure immediately, so as to prevent any improper use of personal data for electoral purposes in the run-up to the European elections?

Responses from the EU Commission and the EDPB are expected in January.

Provided by: Access Now