WhatsApp groups can be both a great experience and a real horror. But there are few things that bother you more than putting you in one by force. Yes, in theory it is enough to leave, but this forced introduction is becoming an illegal action and therefore denounced before the Law.
In December 2016, the owner of the restaurant Moli D’en Sopa decided to create a WhatsApp group to manage and have located all the attendees who were going to celebrate the Christmas Dinner of the company in that place. Since he created it without consulting them and added them as is, one of them decided to leave the group. The owner of the restaurant put it back and sent him a private warning that if he left the group again, he would cancel his reservation. In a pioneering sentence, the LOPD or Spanish Data Protection Agency agreed with the worker and sentenced the owner of the restaurant to financial penalties for improper use of private data on behalf of his business.
Report if they put you in a WhatsApp group without permission
Little by little, other cases of this nature are emerging that are making clear the legal limit at the time of being dragged to a WhatsApp group without having asked for it. As the Boecillo City Council that we read today in the Confidential, which the LOPD, the public body in charge of enforcing the Organic Law of Protection of Personal Data in Spain, has condemned for having created last year a WhatsApp group who got 272 neighbors of the place without consulting them.
The reason? According to the City Council it was an error and they just wanted to create a distribution list “to inform more transparently” to their neighbors. But the creation of this group, which lasted three days, violates two articles of the data protection regulation:
- Infringement of Article 4: Using personal data (the telephone number) for a purpose other than obtaining it. In order for the WhatsApp group to have been legal, the Consistory should have submitted a document reflecting that it had permission from each and every citizen included.
- Violation of Article 10: Infringement in the custody of said personal data, since when they put you in a WhatsApp group, your telephone number is visible to the rest of the members of this, and therefore there is a personal data that remains exposed in a public way.
They will appeal the sentence
Apparently, according to the current Spanish law, a public institution such as this City Council, can not be fined, and will receive a reprimand. But the mayor of Boecillo, after knowing the sentence, admits that they are studying resorting to it despite the fact that they will not have to pay any economic penalty, which in the case of private companies and individuals can amount to 600,000 euros.
For those who are thinking about it, being dragged to the WhatsApp group of your child’s school is a case that depends on several factors. Although it can be summarized that if it is a group opened by parents, then it is not illegal for us to get into it since it is something at the “private and domestic” level. But if the group is opened by the College acting as an institution , then, like a City Council, it would need to have a direct permit from each user it will include, and to do so without it would be an equally reportable case.