Key facts of the case:
Deutsche Telekom AG is, firstly, a telecommunications network operator, among others, and, secondly, operates a nationwide directory enquiry service where it uses not only the data of its own subscribers, but also those of others (on the basis of individual contracts). Having been ordered by the competent administrative authority (the German “Bundesnetzagentur”) to make availablethe whole stock of personal data used for the directory service to competitors, though at least some of the individuals concerned had consented only to publication by the Deutsche Telekom, AG, this undertaking brought action against that order. The appeals court in the main proceedings decided to refer to ECJ.
Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:
- Article 25(2) of Directive 2002/22/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on universal service and users’ rights relating to electronic communications networks and services (Universal Service Directive) must be interpreted as not precluding national legislation under which undertakings assigning telephone numbers to end-users must make available to undertakings whose activity consists in providing publicly available directory enquiry services and directories not only data relating to their own subscribers but also data in their possession relating to subscribers of third-party undertakings.
- Article 12 of Directive 2002/58/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 July 2002 concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector (Directive on privacy and electronic communications) must be interpreted as not precluding national legislation under which an undertaking publishing public directories must pass personal data in its possession relating to subscribers of other telephone service providers to a third-party undertaking whose activity consists in publishing a printed or electronic public directory or making such directories obtainable through directory enquiry services, and under which the passing on of those data is not conditional on renewed consent from the subscribers, provided, however, that those subscribers have been informed, before the first inclusion of their data in a public directory, of the purpose of that directory and of the fact that those data could be communicated to another telephone service provider and that it is guaranteed that those data will not, once passed on, be used for purposes other than those for which they were collected with a view to their first publication.