The Telecommunications Law and Protection of Information in Spain

The new General Telecommunications Law was passed in May of 2014. Among other things, the Law emphasises the meaning of protection of information and “cookies”.

The rules on the protection of information apply to information obtained from labels on commercial products through identification mechanisms that make use of the radio spectrum (RFID). It is also established that there should be more information provided to the user about the archives or the computer programmes (cookies) that are installed in computers and remaining mechanisms to make navigation on the Internet easier.

In terms of “cookies”, so that the recipient’s consent to the processing of data by storage and recovery devices in computers can be obtained by using appropriate browser or other applications settings, it is no longer necessary that the recipient take express action to configure the settings. Furthermore, a sanctioning regime is provided related to the failure to obtain prior consent for the use of cookies in computers of recipients. Failure to obtain prior consent is a minor violation and a serious violation occurs when violators repeatedly fail to meet these requirements. The Spanish Agency on the Protection of Information is responsible for imposing sanctions of these violations.

Finally, in certain circumstances, the sanctioning regime in regards to cookies is extended to advertising networks or agents (in particular, when managing the placement of advertisements in the spaces of the service lender’s website directly with the service lender, the advertising network or agent has not adopted measures to demand the service lender to fulfil the obligations required by the cookies law, provided that the violation is due to the installation of cookies as a consequence granting the advertising space).

Rights of End Users

The new Law strengthens and clarifies the rights of end users related to the protection of personal data and the privacy of individuals. The Law maintains the out-of-court proceeding for solving controversies between operators and end users before the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism. It is also expected that the specific sectorial regulation established in the Law will prevail over the general rule of defence of consumers and end users (which is also applicable) in those aspects expressly provided for in the provisions of European Union law.

The Law recognizes the following rights of end users:

  • To enter contracts with operators, who must have a minimum content.
  • To terminate contracts at any time, including without penalty if the contractual conditions imposed by the operator change.
  • To change operators, while preserving the number in the majority of cases, in the maximum period of one working day.
  • Disconnection of particular onerous services.
  • To the continuation of the service and to automatic compensation for its termination.
  • To choose a payment method commonly used in commerce.
  •  Access to free emergency services.
  • To detailed billing, clear and without errors, and the ability to request that it not be broken down.
  • To stop automatic call forwarding made to the terminal by a third party.
  • To prevent number identification when calling or receiving.
  • To automatically reject unidentified calls.
  • To free customer service, with voice systems being only supplementary.
  • To not receive automated calls or commercial faxes without having been informed and giving prior consent.
  • To oppose receiving unwanted calls for the purpose of commercial communication.
  • To become anonymous or cancel their traffic data when it is no longer necessary for the transmission of a communication.
  • To be listed and to not be listed in subscriber guides.
  • To be regulated by universal service, meaning that services of a determined quality and an affordable price are guaranteed to all users regardless of their geographical location.

This article is not considered as legal advice

Mariscal & Abogados has extensive experience in providing legal advice to technology, media & telecommunications companies (TV, press, radio and internet). If you have a query, do not hesitate to Contact us.