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Misuse of your personal data - redress

If your data is collected illegally or misused, you have the right to seek redress.

Your data may have been collected illegally

Your personal data may only be collected and processed in legally-defined circumstances. If none of these circumstances apply, your data may have been collected unlawfully.

Your data may have been misused

The person or entity who collects and processes your personal data ("data controller") even for legitimate reasons must also respect certain obligations. If these obligations have not been respected, your data may have been misused.

What can you do if your rights are breached?

If you discover that your personal data as managed by a data controller is inaccurate, or was processed illegally, you are entitled to:

  • ask the data controller in question for the data to be corrected, erased or blocked;
  • demand that the data controller notify those who have already seen the incorrect data, unless this requires a disproportionate effort. A reasonable fee for providing access may sometimes be charged;
  • if you do not receive an adequate answer from the data controller, you can submit a complaint to your national data protection supervisory authority.

Complaints to national authorities

Under the Data Protection Directive, every EU country must provide one or more data protection supervisory authorities to ensure that data protection law is correctly applied. Complaints regarding breaches of data protection law should be addressed to the relevant national supervisory authority. The Commission has no competence to monitor compliance of data controllers or to impose penalties.

The supervisory authority must investigate complaints and may temporarily ban data processing which is the subject of a complaint. If the supervisory authority finds that data protection law has been violated, it can order the data erased or destroyed and/or ban further processing.

Your complaint to the supervisory authority should preferably be put in writing. In some EU countries, the supervisory authority provides standard forms for complaints, or complaints can be sent by email.

Decisions by the supervisory authorities which give rise to complaints may be appealed against through the courts.

For more information, please consult your national supervisory authority.