3 Aprile 2018

Italian Data Protection Authority expands the definition of marketing communication

On 18 January 2018, the Italian Data Protection Authority (“DPA”) sanctioned a major Italian telecom operator (the “Telco”) with an administrative fine of EUR 840,000.00 for having made telephone calls for marketing purposes without the consent of the recipients, in violation of Articles 23 and 130 of Legislative Decree No. 196/2003 (the “Privacy Code”). The relevant telephone calls were made in the context of a campaign aimed at verifying the willingness of former customers to receive marketing communications. Telco argued that the relevant telephone calls could not be qualified as marketing communications, on the basis that they did not contain any promotion of services. However, the DPA underlined that (a) Telco’s new offers, for which the former customers were invited to renew their consent, were presented as more attractive than the previous offers and (b) Telco already envisaged – in the event of a grant of consent by the relevant customers – the procedures for the simultaneous conclusion of the applicable contracts. As a result, the promotional nature of the communications had to be considered as intrinsic.