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French mobile service Free fined €300,000 for data protection breaches

The fine comes after a series of complaints against the company relating to customers’ privacy and unwanted commercial messages

Free Mobile has over 13million customers in France Pic: Ricochet64 / Shutterstock

Free Mobile, one of France’s major mobile service providers, has been fined €300,000 for failing to respect the security of its users' data.

The fine was handed down by France’s national data regulator CNIL following several complaints. 

It carried out a series of checks and found four breaches of the general data protection regulation (règlement général de protection des données personnelles or RGPD), including breaches in the obligation to protect data from the outset and data security.

The commission highlighted the fact that Free sent customers’ non-temporary passwords by email without encrypting them when the clients subscribed to offers.

Pic: Screenshot / CNIL

CNIL also highlighted difficulties encountered by individuals regarding their requests to access data concerning them, and Free’s failure to acknowledge individuals’ requests to no longer receive commercial messages or adverts. 

CNIL said of the fine:

“This sanction takes into account the size and financial situation of the company. 

“Its publicity is justified by the need to recall the importance of dealing with the rights of individuals and the security of users' data.”

Free has 13.38 million mobile customers in France, according to Alloforfait, an online service providing news and guides about mobile phone packages. 

Free is one of four mobile service providers in France rolling out 5G mobile data. 

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