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Norwegian DPA issues fine to Aquateknikk AS

The Norwegian Data Protection Authority has fined Aquateknikk AS EUR 10,000 (NOK 100,000) for having performed a credit rating on a private individual without legal basis.

This case came in response to a complaint from a person who discovered that Aquateknikk had performed a credit rating on him when he had no customer relationship or any other connection with the company.

The General Data Protection Regulation requires that all processing of personal data must have a legal basis. Credit ratings are a type of personal data subject to special protections.

Lacked legal basis

credit rating compiles personal data from many different sources for the purpose of indicating how likely it is that the person will be able to pay what they owe. A credit rating will also include detailed information about the person’s personal financial situation, such as debt-to-income ratio, payment remarks, and the person’s mortgages, if any.

Upon investigating this matter, the Data Protection Authority has concluded that the credit ratings were performed without a legal basis, in violation of the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation. The undertaking did not have a legitimate interest in performing a credit rating on the complainant.

Insufficient knowledge of the rules

- As a credit rating includes detailed information about one’s personal financial situation, it feels very intrusive when an organization unlawfully gains access to this information, says Bjørn Erik Thon, Director-General of the Norwegian Data Protection Authority.

- We receive many complaints concerning credit ratings, and we see that many organizations have insufficient knowledge of the rules that apply. These types of cases are serious offences, and we normally issue fines for such violations, Thon concludes.