Historical Archive

Collection of personal information? Beware of the risk of profiling

Article 05.03.2013 (Alessandro Radrizzani, Antonio Recchia)

Not always, when a new data and information collection project is set up, we take care to check whether this activity can be configured as a profiling activity.

In the past we had the opportunity to remind one of our interlocutors that we are talking about profiling not only if tastes are deduced from the analysis of the consumption of certain subjects, but also if spending or behavior preferences can be deduced from the explicit declaration of interests, also released when registering for a service.

Therefore, for example, we speak of profiling not only when the data owner (or a person appointed by him) processes, for example, the spending or web browsing data of identified subjects; but there is also profiling when the preferences declared when registering for a service are analysed.

On the subject in question, we also recall a substantial provision adopted in 2008 by the Guarantor against a pharmaceutical multinational, where it was stated that the collection of information relating to the number of patients/patients, as well as the doctor's prescriptive attitudes (deducible from the statements made by the doctor himself) is configured as a profiling activity.

The Guarantor had intervened against the pharmaceutical company, prescribing several indications regarding the activity of clinical trials and the correlated activity of scientific representatives.

The Authority, in addition to recalling that the activity described above is profiling, reaffirmed that it was previously necessary to receive a specific consent from the doctors whose preferences are tracked.

The 2008 decision also did not mention the need to notify the Guarantor, as had been stated in the general provision on loyalty (provision of February 24, 2005), where the obligation to notify the Guarantor of treatments carried out with the aid of electronic tools aimed at defining consumer profiles or analyzing their habits and choices regarding the products purchased was confirmed.

The Guarantor had also taken a position on the subject with an interesting provision in 2010, with which he maintained that the interested parties must be made aware of the activity to which they are subject, of the possibility of refusing the

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Fedaiisf Federazione delle Associazioni Italiane degli Informatori Scientifici del Farmaco e del Parafarmaco