個人資料保護辦公室

Gabinete para a Protecção de Dados Pessoais

Office for Personal Data Protection

Complaint Case Notes
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No: 0011/2016/IP

Title: Frequent survey calls to fixed-line number

Reason: Complaint

Brief:

      The current case stemmed from the continuous survey calls from Organization A to a fixed-line user. This user complained to the GPDP (Gabinete para a Protecção de Dados Pessoais/Office for Personal Data Protection) that even he requested to be removed from the call list every time receiving a call, the calls still continued. As a consequence he requested the GPDP to investigate.

Analysis:

       The Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) shall apply to the data processing of the current case according to its Article 4(1)(1) and 3(1).
     Organization A pointed out that, after successfully contacting the interviewee household, it would record the contact numbers in its internal records as a status of “for further interviews”. Later, Organization A would contact this household again to conduct questionnaire interviews. Later, it called the Complainant’s fixed-line in order to conduct two surveys, which were both commissioned by the Government. The surveys intended to solicit public views on livelihood issues for future decision making; in other words, they were based on public or community interests. According to the call script provided by Organization A, a caller has to briefly introduce himself, and specify the call purpose and describe how the numbers were generated, before starting the survey. In addition, the caller is obliged to obtain the consent from the person prior to asking any survey questions. Organization A has, on the other hand, established an opt-out system, which allows the person being called to be removed from the call list once he expresses refusal. This revealed that the surveys did not have strong negative impact on the data subjects nor harmed their interests. The above showed that Organization has achieved the criteria of lawful processing of personal data as set out in Article 6(5) of the PDPA (Personal Data Protection Act).
    As the Complainant pointed out, Organization A did not respect his refusal of participating in the surveys, whereas the latter explained that the former did not expressly point out his disapproval. In addition, in each call the Complainant only said he was occupied at that moment and got off; consequently Organization A tried to call the Complainant at different times of the day and intended to conduct the surveys. Only until most recently the Complainant expressed his wishes of refusal, and Organization A also respected his decision. These highlighted that Organization A respected the wishes of the Complainant and no sufficient evidence proved violation of Article 12 of the PDPA.
  Given that the current case was caused by the different understandings between the Complainant and Organization A, the GPDP, therefore, recommended the latter to actively clarify the wishes of the interviewees in similar situation in future.

Result:

      The GPDP has already informed the Complainant and Organization A of the investigation result and also reminded Organization A of the above recommendations. This case was closed.

Reference:
Please refer to Article 3, 4, 6 and 12 of the PDPA.

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