Fine for tennis association for selling personal data

The Dutch Data Protection Authority has fined the Royal Dutch Tennis Association (“KNLTB”) with EUR 525,000 for selling the personal data of more than 350,000 of its members to sponsors who had contacted some of the members by mail and telephone for direct marketing purposes. It was found that the KNLTB sold personal data such as name, gender and address to third parties without obtaining the consent of the data subjects. The data protection authority also rejected the existence of a legitimate interest for the sale of the data and therefore decided that there was no legal basis for the transfer of the personal data to the sponsors.

The Dutch Data Protection Authority (AP) imposes a fine of 525,000 euros on the sale of personal data to tennis association KNLTB. In 2018, the KNLTB unlawfully provided personal data of a few hundred thousand of its members to two sponsors against payment.

The Royal Dutch Lawn Tennis Association (KNLTB) provided the sponsors with personal data such as name, gender and address, so that they could approach a selection of KNLTB members with tennis-related and other offers. One sponsor received personal data from 50,000, the other from more than 300,000 members. The sponsors approached some of those KNLTB members by post or telephone.

Sale of personal data

For any processing of personal data, the organization that processes it must be able to rely on one of the six principles of the AVG. For example, that the person in question has given permission for that processing. The sale of personal data without the consent of the person behind the data is generally prohibited. The KNLTB found that it had a legitimate interest in selling the data. The AP does not agree with this and has ruled that KNLTB had no basis to pass on those personal data to the sponsors.

KNLTB complaint about AP

During the investigation into the KNLTB, the tennis association filed a complaint against the AP, which the AP declared justified. That complaint was about the performance of AP chairman Aleid Wolfsen in Nieuwsuur, on 17 December 2018. In it, Wolfsen indicated that the AP was investigating ‘a sports association’. In response to this complaint, the AP acknowledged that it had given the impression in that broadcast that the conduct of KNLTB was not correct, while the investigation into this was still ongoing. The KNLTB saw in those statements the appearance of bias and the AP regrets that. On the recommendation of the National Ombudsman, the AP hereby announces that Wolfsen’s statements were incorrectly anticipating the results of the investigation.

Objection KNLTB

The KNLTB has objected to the fine decision. The AP will assess this.

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