“I often make purchases on the Internet from companies located in other EU countries. Is it possible for these companies to re-use my personal details without my consent. Who protects me in this case?”
Frederik François Europe Direct Communication Officer responds: “Under EU rules personal details you leave while making a payment on the Internet are considered as “personal data” and as such are protected under EU law.
‘Personal data is any information about an individual, whether it relates to his or her private, professional or public life. Personal data can be anything from your name, photo, your e-mail address, your bank details, your posts on social networking websites, your medical information, or your computer’s IP address. The EU data protection rules apply when a person can be identified, directly or indirectly, by such data.
‘Under EU law, personal data can only be processed legally under strict conditions.
For example, there must be a legitimate purpose, such as a purchase or a user posting a comment on a social network.
‘Furthermore, persons or organisations which collect and manage your personal information must protect it from misuse and must respect the rights of the data owners. For example, users have a right to know which personal data is held by a company.
‘Users also have a right to have their personal data deleted when it is no longer needed for the purpose it was once given. For example, when an address and mobile phone number were used to book a flight online, you can ask for this data to be deleted later.
‘If you suspect that your personal details are misused, first of all, you need to contact the person or organisation who collects and manages your data. If you don’t get a satisfactory result from this, you could contact your national data protection authority.”
For more information about the EU, call 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11 or check out the website: ec.europa.eu/justice
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