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Payment firms slammed for collecting EC card customer data

The Local · 24 Sep 2010, 14:06

Published: 24 Sep 2010 14:06 GMT+02:00

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On Thursday it emerged that Germany’s largest cashless payment network operator Easycash had harvested customer spending information without permission and divided them into different classes for use by other companies to determine their credit worthiness.

A similar practice was also apparently part of operations at Easycash competitor Telecash, daily Frankfurter Rundschau reported on Friday.

“That is clearly illegal,” data protection commissioner for the state of Schleswig-Holstein, Thilo Weichert, told the paper. “Account details and exact information about purchases are very clearly personal information that should not be used in this manner.”

North Rhine-Westphalia data protection commissioner Ulrich Lepper also criticised the practice.

“Fundamentally each person should decide for themselves who knows what about them when,” he told daily Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, adding that customers must give permission for the use of their personal data.

Meanwhile the pro-business Free Democrats called for data protection laws to be strengthened as a result of the scandal.

“We need clear legal parameters for the use of customer data in electronic commerce,” FDP chief whip Christian Ahrend told daily Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung. “It is necessary to stop brazen data collection such as that by Easycash.”

The FDP plans to put pressure on the government to create new regulations, he told the paper.

Story continues below…

Easycash has rejected criticism of the practice and says it was within the country’s legal limits.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

15:34 September 24, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Meanwhile everybody's got their knickers in a wad over Google Streetview's "invasion of privacy."
17:34 September 24, 2010 by DinhoPilot

You got it wrong. It was google who ordered this. Google wants to know everything about everyone! It is EVIL...

17:42 September 24, 2010 by William Thirteen
i recently heard Thilo Weichert & Renate Kunast discuss privacy protection and identity in the 21st century with Jeff Jarvis here in Berlin. Very interesting. Herr Weichert detailed his reasons for being very mistrustful of Google and its data collection policies - and pointed out that the street view issue is a distraction from the real issues regarding control of personal data...
21:55 September 24, 2010 by gtappend
"Meanwhile the pro-business Free Democrats called for data protection laws to be strengthened as a result of the scandal."

Perhaps they should read the new BDSG law that only came in 12 months ago before calling for new ones.

It is strict and the fines are quite high. As usual, the law has been broken and that is what should be dealt with here.

What use are tougher laws, if they're being broken anyway?
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