Spanish Data Protection Agency’s Annual Report for 2005

01 February 2007

Alexander Benalal, Ana María Rodríguez Costas

On 11 October 2006, the head of the Spanish Data Protection Agency (SDPA), Mr. Piñar Mañas, presented the SPDA´s annual report for 2005 to Congress. The Annual Report (available in Spanish here) contains statistics on all the processes monitored by the SDPA last year. Some of the keys findings and figures are reproduced below:

Fines imposed in 2005 have amounted to over €21,000,000

The majority of the enquires related to the Telecommunications sector: 24% (that is 264 inspections) were concluded in relation to this sector in 2005 and 47% of them were caused by the incorrect entry of personal data into the debtor files. A further 30% were as a result of fraud at the time of contracting.

As a consequence of these inspections, a total of 80 sanctions were imposed in this sector, which represents 29% of the total amount of sanctions imposed by the Agency in 2005. The rest of the inspections were closed because there was not enough information to impose a fine.

The second biggest sector offender in terms of finalised inspection procedures in 2005 was the Financial sector, with 19% of the total inspections (204 inspections). 51% of these inspections were related to the incorrect inclusion of some names in debtor files.

As a consequence of these inspections, 53 sanctions were imposed in this sector (19% of the total number of sanctions).

There has been an increase in the number of inspections in relation to the Public Administrations sector. A total of 101 inspections were carried out in 2005 in this sector, representing 9% of the total number of inspections completed in 2005. This is an increase of 86% from the previous year.

It is interesting to note the number of inspections and sanctions in relation to certain sectors:

  • The Advertising sector: 72 inspections and 20 sanctions;

  • Spam: 65 inspections and 11 sanctions;

  • Internet services sector: 32 inspections;

  • Insurance sector: 23 inspections and 11 sanctions;

  • Commerce sector: 16 inspections and 9 sanctions.

Notifications to the Agency

In 2005, 145,205 notifications were made to the agency (about 600 notifications per day). The average growth in notifications per year in the last four years has been 35.75%.

Initiated procedures in 2005

1,158 enquiries or actuations of investigation were initiated (an 18% increase from 2004). 7% of these were initiated by the Agency due to news that appeared in the media. The rest of them originated from lawsuits by a person or entity. In addition, 579 procedures of guardianship (“tutela de derechos”) were initiated.

In 2005, the SDPA received over 35,000 requests for advice, by phone, letter or in person, although it is important to note that the majority of the requests to the agency, (over 850,000 in 2005), were made through the website. Most requests made to the department of assistance for the public were related to access and cancellation rights. In relation to this, the number of questions raised by the public increased by 40% from the previous year.

In addition to the above, during 2005, the SDPA produced 657 legal reports. The following are of particular interest:

  • Report on the inclusion of clients in debtor files,

  • Report on the processing of data for telemarketing companies,

  • Report on the telephonic lists and other sources of public personal data.

In addition, the Agency engaged in significant international activity during 2005 in Europe and South America. This has a special relevance in the fight against terrorism and organised crime.

Authors