Dispute over legality of Austrian Post data harvesting

Austrian Post has been found to be selling its customers’ data by a team of investigative journalists at Addendum. The postal operator is unrepentant, claiming that this is legal under Austrian national law.

According to the report, Austrian Post sold three million customers’ data for targeted marketing purposes. Addendum found that the postal operator sold the names, addresses, age and gender of those customers to other companies for targeted marketing purposes.

The data also makes assumptions about users’ likely political allegiances, compiling up to 2.2-million such profiles. This in turn was sold to political parties for election campaigns. According to the EU privacy campaign group Epicentre Works this runs contrary to the EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

Austrian Post however challenged the allegations, arguing that the data harvesting and sale is legal under Austrian law. “The specified characteristics are collated in this way and are allowed to be used exclusively for marketing purposes. The use of such data is strictly limited to this purpose only,” it said in a statement.