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€ 150.000,- GDPR fine imposed on PWC by Greek Data Protection Authority for being not accountable

06.08.2019

The Greek HDPA (Hellenic Data Protection Authority) imposed a fine of € 150.000,- on PWC Greece.

The employees of PWC were “forced” to sign a Statement of Acceptance of Terms of Personal Data and consent was not freely given in conformity with article 7 par 4 GDPR, given the advantageous position of the employer over the employees. Consent of data subjects in the context of employment relations cannot be regarded as freely given due to the clear imbalance between the parties.

Moreover the statement required staff to unconditionally give their consent to PWC to use its personal information both already filed and in the future filed on databases, although the nature of the business of the company does not provide any security reason that would allow such registration and processing of employees personal data.

PWC made the false impression on employees that PWC was processing their personal data in accordance with the legal basis of consent while in fact they were processing it with another legal basis, for which employees were never informed, in breach of the principle of transparency article 5 GDPR. and consequently, in breach of the obligation to provide information pursuant to Article 13, 14 GDPR.

PWC preaching the GDPR on seminars was itself not accountable according to the HDPA violating the principle of accountability under Art. 5 GDPR not being able to provide internal documentation of its choice of legal basis. PWC could not show documents giving another legal basis which is in itself logical if you think consent is the proper legal basis. What kind of other legal basis there could have been for PWC cannot be read in the decision of the HDPA. No documents could been shown a fundamental principle of the GDPR’s accountability. This must be in place in your processor register and / or internal privacy statement.

PWC may restore this within three months taking all necessary measures in the light of the principle of accountability but has to pay a fine of € 150,000,- anyhow. PWC will have this opportunity due to the fact that this is the initial period of the GDPR’s application as stated by HDPA. In this application period of the GDPR the HDPA submits specific questions and requests, while exercising its investigative powers in order to facilitate the documentation of accountability by controllers.

This is the first time I have seen a DPA controlling accountability so thoroughly. An accountant being checked for accountability. A clear example of not freely give consent as well.

 

Article provided by: Bob Cordemeyer (Cordemeyer & Slager Advocaten, The Netherlands)

 

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Understanding the complexity of current European data protection laws and regulations is already difficult enough for an IT engineer, buyer, or business user. In combination with the often small but nevertheless significant differences between various EU member states, however, it can become an almost insurmountable challenge without proper juristic accompaniment from the very start... Read More

 

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The CPC is a trusted, not-for-profit international network of qualified professionals who deliver simplified and straight-forward guidance to help navigate the legal and regulatory environment relating to privacy and the cloud. This is done through collective know-how, research and market analysis gained from pan-European industry activity, collaboration and experience. Our mission is to provide authoritative views, information and practical solutions to two principal stakeholders: industry professionals and public authorities.