Massive GDPR Blunder in Sweden

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writer icon Vera P. Jensen     ISB   |   Tech Ethics     🕐 27. May. 2019

Yesterday, all around the Nordic country, Swedes went to the polls to vote in the EU election. However, the day did not go by without controversy as the Swedish Social Democratic Party, Socialdemokraterna, got caught making a possible General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) blunder: mass text messaging the public. 

GDPR concerns
One of Sweden's foremost experts on GDPR, Caroline Olstedt Carlström, has serious doubts about whether the mass text, which was sent out to around half a million people,  complies with the General Data Protection Regulation, Swedish Dagens Industri (DI) reports.

According to GDPR regulation, anyone who handles personal information must have a lawful motivation to do so. If that is not the case, it is simply not allowed. 

Interestingly, one of the text recipients was Olstedt Carlström’s 10 year old daughter, whose phone number, one could argue, should not be available for political parties to find.

However it has not been confirmed that the Social Democratic Party was privy to the recipients personal information at any point, and the likelihood of them specifically targeting minors, who cannot vote, is minimal.

The message
The bulk text send out by the Social Democratic Party on Sunday read as follows:

”Vote for S today, for safety, work and equality – against those who threaten womens' and worker rights! Election information at Happy election day!

GDPR law and blunder
It is unclear where exactly this possible transgressions falls under GDPR, which coincidentally 'turned 1' just a day prior.

"Here they may have thought that it is weighing of interest that is that applicable legal precedence, but the thing is that we do not know – there is no information. They are required to provide that [information]." Olstedt Carlström shared with DI.

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