Complaint Case Notes

編號: 0077/2016/IP

標題: Signature required on tablet when buying mobile phone and contract renewal

立案原因: Report


    A staffer of Telecommunications Company A (hereinafter as Company A) asked the Complainant, who intended to buy a mobile and renew his contract, to create his digital signature on a tablet, in addition to signing on the Auto Payment Declaration Form and the Contract Renewal Form, which were written documents contrariwise.  The Complainant believed that signing these written documents already fulfilled the service formalities, and he viewed the digital signatures with suspicion that Company A collected them through the tablets and therefore he asked the GPDP (Gabinete para a Protecção de Dados Pessoais/Office for Personal Data Protection) to investigate.  


    Company A normally concluded service contract with a customer before its provision of services.  For this, it asked the customer to provide his name, type and numbers of ID, date of birth and contact numbers, etc., for concluding the service contract, and the customers were aware of and agreed to such collection of data.  As such, Company A complied with Article 6(1) of the PDPA (Personal Data Protection Act).  In addition, the mentioned data collection was not found excessive nor for extraneous purposes, and therefore Company A was not in breach of Article 5(1)(2) and 5(1)(3) of the PDPA. 
  The use of tablet aimed at encouraging paperless office and environmental protection, according to Company A, and the customers’ data, as they provided, would only be used for service application.  According to the Compliant, the tablet did not show any terms and conditions of the document while he was making his digital signature on the tablet, and no printed copies were given to him afterwards. Therefore, he was unaware of the purpose for which his digital signature would be used.  On the other hand, he also admitted that he had been explained with the purposes of creating the signatures, he did not pay attention to what he was told, however.  Contrarily, the digital signature, as Company A explained, was made for the Service Application Form, and therein the terms and conditions of the applied services were illustrated.  This showed that Company A asked for such signature to ensure that customers were voluntarily bound by the respective terms and conditions. In return, customers had the duty to read them carefully before signing.  Consequently, what reported by the Complainant was in absence of justification.
  With regard to the digital signature and the signatures on the written documents, as the Complainant only reported this case to the GPDP, instead of filing a complaint, the GPDP, without disclosing his identity, was unable to substantiate what actually happened.  In addition, the information as provided by Company A showed that the auto payment authorization was unable to be completed simply through digital signing, but rather customers had to sign a written authorization.  As a consequence, it was conjectured that the Complainant was signing the written document simply for service application.  
  To avoid misunderstanding, the GPDP already asked Company A to improve the respective service arrangement by actively asking customers, before the formalities begin, if they wish to make digital signature on a tablet, and if they require any written copies of the contract and other respective documents afterwards (for instance, privacy policies, the terms and conditions of the services applied, etc.).


    Company A obtained the customer’s consent before proceeding to process the service application with tablets, and with which the Service Application Form was shown, as well as the terms and conditions of the service applied for.  These showed that Company A did not breach Article 5 and 6 of the PDPA.  The current case was closed. 

Please refer to Article 5 and 6 of the PDPA.