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Companies and public bodies will not be able to add users to WhatsApp groups without consent

The Spanish Agency for Data Protection determines this fact as a serious infraction, a decision that does not affect the domestic and family environment, but seeks to protect the privacy of personal data in the workplace.

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WhatsApp groups without consent
WhatsApp groups without consent

The Spanish Agency for Data Protection (AEPD) has determined that it is a serious infraction to include a user in a WhatsApp group without their consent, a decision that does not affect the domestic and family sphere, but seeks to protect the privacy of the data personal and also the purpose with which they are transferred.

The lawyer Joaquín Muñoz, of the office ONTIER, has explained this Wednesday to Efefuturo that the resolution supposes a warning for all those companies that could follow that example, because they would face fines of up to 300,000 euros.

The decision, in particular, refers to the case of the municipality of Boecillo in Valladolid, where a councilor incorporated in a group of neighborhood information whatssap citizens without their consent. It is a binding resolution so that corporations that incur an infraction of this type would have recourse, if they so decided, before the National High Court, although in the case of the municipality it is not foreseeable that it does so given that being a public administration the Payment of the penalty is not applicable, explained the lawyer.

The Data Protection Law does not apply, however, the treatment of personal data in the domestic sphere, so users of whatashap incorporated into a family group or between friends in which everyone is known would not be affected initially by the resolution.

Users of whatssap in a family group or among friends are not affected by the resolution

Another thing is that people who do not know each other were shared in the “chat”, and it was also done for informational, advertising or other professional activities different from the initial objective for which the personal data were requested, where he understands that the law would be applicable, adds the expert.

Given that the whatssap social network allows the inclusion of the group’s members without prior notice about their incorporation and, therefore, the person affected is automatically immersed in the “chat”, it would be advisable, in deference, that the person responsible for their Creation will inform its new members beforehand, even in cases of restricted activity for domestic use since, in some way, with this action, the telephone number of the group members is being communicated to the rest.

The case is similar to that of emails to lists of recipients where the receiving emails are required to be included in a hidden copy, because the members involved also have no previous option to refuse to be incorporated into the group communication.

With the new General Regulation of Data Protection of the EU that will come into force next May, the amount to pay for serious infringements in this area can amount to 20 million euros.

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