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Record AEPD fine imposed on Vodafone

Record AEPD fine imposed on Vodafone

Record AEPD fine imposed on Vodafone for violations of the GDPR as well as Spanish national regulations. 


Vodafone Spain has recently been hit with four fines, with a record total of €8.15 million for violations of the GDPR and Spanish national laws. The company has been found guilty of unlawful telemarketing and other data security violations. Over the last two years, some 200 million calls were made resulting in 191 complaints about the company’s practices regarding consent and data processing. 


Customers who had opted out of receiving communication were contacted by, or on behalf of the company. 


Several citizens who had opposed data processing for advertising were receiving calls and text messages, resulting in 191 complaints. As a result, the company’s headquarters were inspected in September of 2019. It was found that the phone company had not been continuously monitoring their data processor, and lacked the technical and organizational structure to ensure that it was avoiding making contact with citizens who had opted out of receiving communication for advertising purposes, or opted for erasure of their data entirely. The phone company was therefore found to have violated Article 28 of the EU GDPR by neglecting to continuously monitor the data processor in this case. 


The company was also found to have exported data without sufficient safeguards in place for international data transfers. 


The phone company’s infractions also included a violation of Article 44 of the GDPR, involving a transfer of data to a third country. It was found that data processors in the Republic of Peru had also engaged in advertising activity on behalf of Vodafone. This processor was not being continuously monitored, and the AEPD’s findings revealed that the company did not even have sufficient structures and safeguards in place to conduct this monitoring. 


This record AEPD fine included two fines for national laws in addition to the fines for EU GDPR violations. 


This total fine, which was imposed last month, consisted of two fines for violations of the EU GDPR and two fines for violations of Spanish national laws. The company was fined the sum of €6 million for violating both Article 28 and Article 44 of the EU’s GDPR collectively. In addition, the AEPD, based on its national competencies, fined another €2 million for the company’s violation of Spanish telecommunications and digital rights laws, and a smaller fine of €150,000 regarding a technical Spanish law governing the use of cookies. This total fine is a new record high for the AEPD, surpassing the €6 million fine imposed on Caixabank earlier this year. 


Does your company have all of the mandated safeguards in place to ensure compliance with the ePrivacy, GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018 in handling customer data? Aphaia provides ePrivacy, GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018 consultancy services, including data protection impact assessments, EU AI Ethics Assessments and Data Protection Officer outsourcing. We can help your company get on track towards full compliance.

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