European PSD2 legislation puts privacy under pressure. Privacy First demands PSD2 opt-out register

Monday, 07 January 2019

New European PSD2 legislation in force

At the start of 2019, the Payment Service Directive 2 will enter into force in the Netherlands. Under this new European banking law, consumers can share their banking details with parties other than their own bank. This first requires their explicit consent, upon which banks must share all transactional data[1] of the consumer (account holder) with an external party (financial service provider) for a period of 90 days, after which the consumer can renew his consent. The consumer can also withdraw his consent at all times.

PSD2 is a great concern to Privacy First

Privacy First is very worried about PSD2. The law focuses too much on improving competition and innovation while the privacy interest of account holders is overlooked. These are Privacy First’s greatest concerns:

  • Consumers are not in a position to limit the amount of banking details. Even in case a financial service provider does not need these details, all data are shared just the same once the account holder has issued his consent.
  • The bank details of a consumer include the details of contra accounts. Holders of such accounts are unaware of the fact that their details may be shared and are not in a position to prevent that. As transactional data will be analyzed much more widely with the use of Big Data and data analyses than before the introduction of PSD2, there will be a much greater risk of privacy violations.
  • Banking details contain ‘sensitive personal data’ that may only be issued under strict conditions.[2] A subscription payment to a trade union, political party or organization that reveals one’s sexual preferences, should be considered sensitive personal data according to Privacy First. The same applies to transactions with health insurance companies and pharmacists. Currently, there is no way to filter out these data and they are being issued to parties that are not allowed to process them.

During an episode of the Dutch television program Radar that was broadcast on Monday 7 January 2019, Privacy First drew particular attention to these issues.

PSD2 quality label aims for transparency

Privacy First wants consumers to get honest and transparent information on what happens to their data. We advocate not for lengthy privacy statements, but rather for information that fits on a single sheet of paper. This information should not come from the financial industry, but from consumers themselves. After all, they can best decide which information they find valuable when making a choice. During 2018, Privacy First worked on this initiative along with the Volksbank and other partners from the financial sector.

PSD2 opt-out register

Privacy First is surprised that no attention has been paid to the role of ‘sensitive personal details’ in transactional data. Such details may only be shared under strict conditions and therefore have to be filtered out. Equally, consumers who do not want others to share their data with financial service providers should have the opportunity to prevent this. That is why Privacy First would like to see an opt-out register, similar to the do-not-call-me register which has been around in the Netherlands for many years. During the Radar broadcast, Privacy First announced it would bring forward this proposal, hoping to be able to develop it further together with the financial sector and policy makers. The aim is to have a compulsory opt-out register. This will, however, require amending the European PSD2 directive.

[1] Additional information: it concerns all transactional data. The extent to which these data go back in time varies per bank. See the overview (in Dutch) of the Dutch consumer association: The majority of account holders saves their bank statements for at least five years https://www.consumentenbond.nl/betaalrekening/meerderheid-bewaart-rekeningafschriften-ten-minste-5-jaar.
[2] Additional information: this is included in Article 9 of the GDPR and in Article 22 of the Dutch GDPR implementation Act. In short, processing sensitive personal data is unlawful, with a few exceptions. See (in Dutch) https://wetten.overheid.nl/BWBR0040940/2018-05-25.

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