Creditors association profits off free-of-charge data

The creditors association, Austria-based KSV1870, is profiting off data that is free of charge by using misleading website designs that urge individuals to purchase a high-priced “InfoPass,according to NOYB - European Center for Digital Rights.

Instead of receiving a free copy of their data, individuals, usually foreign residents, are forced to pay a €43 fee to receive it.

The GDPR stipulates that the right to access such data must be free of charge. However, the Austrian creditor protection association, KSV1870, is profiting off those who have limited resources and may not speak German.

According to the complaint and report against KSV1870, filed by NOYB, “If you search for terms such as "information KSV" "self-disclosure KSV" or "data copy KSV" or even "free self-disclosure KSV" on common search engines, the website mentioned is always in first place, while a reference to free information in accordance with Article 15 GDPR does not appear, or only appears late or in conjunction with third-party sites.”

NOYB is a non-profit organization active in protecting the rights and freedom of data subjects concerning personal data protection.

Those who wish to apply for an Austrian visa or to extend their permit must prove financial stability.

Therefore, the Municipal Department of Immigration and Citizenship (MA35) will assess whether an individual has outstanding loans, unpaid debts, or cannot pay outstanding debts.

The MA35 doesn’t have access to this information, so individuals must request it from external sources such as creditor protection organizations like KSV1870.

Per Article 15 GPDR, the MA35 accepts cost-free information, and companies must ensure that individuals can access their legal right to information in a simple and accessible form.

KSV1870 is “desperately trying to hide the fact that there’s an option to request the information free of charge,” NOYB states in its recent article.

NOYB concludes that with over 114,000 applications to the Vienna MA35 per year, KSV1870 could pocket millions from uninformed individuals.

Data protection lawyer at NOYB, Marco Blocher, states that the KSV makes the affected individual's right to access impossible and tricks people into buying their data.

Along with disproportionately long waiting times for data and concealment instead of simplification of information, the KSV is not following the requirements of the GDPR.

According to NOYB’s article, the MA35 has been banned from referring individuals to KSV’s paid product, and the organization has provided free information following Article 15 GDPR.

In response to an official reprimand from the Vienna City Court Audit, the KSV1870 advertises the paid InfoPass on its website alongside the free information option.

NOYB has thus filed a complaint and report against KSV1870, as this organization believes that the service's confusing, misleading, and delayed nature violates the GDPR.

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