The CNIL has just pinned Free Mobile for several breaches of the RGPD, the European regulation on data protection. Indeed, the organization has confirmed that the French operator has violated several rights of its customers, particularly concerning the processing of their personal data. Free Mobile was fined 300,000 €.
While Bouygues Telecom and Red by SFR have recently been crowned kings of price increases in 2021 by 60 million consumers, it is the turn of Free to be in the spotlight for the wrong reasons. Indeed, the French operator was pinned by the CNIL, the National Commission for Informatics and Freedoms, for several breaches of the GDPR, the European data protection regulation.
Following several complaints (about twenty in total) by users against the company, the CNIL conducted its investigation and found that Free Mobile has effectively violated several rights regarding the processing of personal data. More specifically, the organization identified four serious breaches of the GDPR:
- a breach of the obligation to respect the right of access of individuals to data concerning them
- a breach of the obligation to respect the right of opposition of the persons concerned, Free Mobile has not taken into account the requests of users who wish to no longer receive commercial prospecting messages
- a breach of the obligation of data protection, Free Mobile having continued to send invoices to customers concerning subscriptions that had been canceled
- a breach of the obligation to ensure the security of personal data, Free Mobile having transmitted by email, in clear, the passwords of the users when they subscribe to an offer from the operator
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The CNIL recalls the obligations of Free Mobile
For these numerous offenses, the restricted formation of the CNIL therefore decided to order Free Mobile to pay a fine of € 300,000. As the Commission specifies, the amount of the penalty takes into account “the size and financial position of the company ”. In 2020, Free recorded 5 billion euros in turnover. In other words, this fine represents 0.01% of the overall turnover of the Iliad group. Enough to bring the operator to reflection without a doubt …
Usually, the CNIL does not usually publicize the sanctions and warnings it decrees against companies. Nevertheless and given the importance of the operator in France, the publicity of this sanction “is justified by the need to recall the importance of dealing with requests for personal rights and the security of user data ”.