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Two-minute Recap of Recent Developments in Turkish Personal Data Protection Law - August 2023

September 2023 – In August 2023, the Turkish Personal Data Protection Authority (the “DPA”) issued two decisions and published 12 data breach notifications.

Newly announced: Google now has permission for cross-border data transfers

In August, the DPA granted approval for Google Reklamcılık ve Pazarlama Limited Şirketi (“Google”) to transfer personal data abroad. The decision, dated 17 August 2023, came after a thorough evaluation of Google’s application with written undertaking for cross-border personal data transfers.

Healthcare institutions’ activities based on explicit consent under scrutiny

On 14 August, the DPA published two violation decisions concerning the processing of personal data by healthcare institutions based on the explicit consent of data subjects.

Key points addressed within the decisions include:

  • In the first decision, the DPA found that a private healthcare institution’s activity was unlawful, ruling that they had engaged in promotional activities by sharing patients' data on social media, despite having the explicit consent of the patients.

In its assessment, the DPA emphasised that data processing activities must align with legal regulations in the broadest sense to be considered legitimate under the principle of processing data for specific, clear, and lawful purposes. Although the healthcare institution claimed that they can carry out informational and promotional activity and that it is legitimate, the DPA stated that to consider an activity as legitimate, it should be in line with the applicable legislation. In this regard, the DPA stated that, despite the fact that the healthcare institution had acquired patients' explicit consent, the activity in the concrete case exceeded informational and promotional activities permitted by Turkish law. Therefore, this processing of personal data was found unlawful, and as a result, the data controller faced an administrative fine of TRY 250,000 (approx. EUR 8,450).

  • In the second decision, the DPA reiterated that explicit consent should not be conditional. In this case, a private healthcare institution required patients seeking an appointment to explicitly consent to marketing activities. The DPA ruled that this condition violated the element of “free will”. As a result, an administrative fine of TRY 300,000 (approx. EUR 10,140) was imposed on the healthcare institution.

For more details on these decisions, you can access our article summarising them here.

The DPA announced the following data breach notifications in August:

Data Controller

Affected Data Subjects

Affected Personal Data

Number of Data Subjects

Vodatech Bilişim Proje Danışmanlık Sanayi ve Dış Ticaret

Employees, Family Relatives of Employees, Suppliers, Business Partners, Customer Employees and Employee Candidates

Identity, Communication, Personnel Information, Finance, Professional Experience Data

9,746

Diler Holding and Below Group Companies

  • Atlas Enerji Üretim
  • Bodova Turizm Yatçılık San. ve Tic.
  • Diler Demir Çelik Endüstri ve Ticaret
  • Diler Denizcilik ve Tic.
  • Diler Elektrik Üretim
  • Diler Dış Ticaret
  • Esm Denizcilik ve Ticaret
  • Eti Toprak Endüstrisi ve Ticaret
  • Renar Bitkisel Üretim Sanayi ve Ticaret
  • Resa Demir Sanayi ve Ticaret
  • Yazıcı Demir Çelik San. ve Turizm Ticaret

Employees and Users

Identity, Communication, Personnel Information, Legal Transaction, Customer Transaction, Physical Place Security, Transaction Security, Risk Management, Finance, Professional Experience, Marketing Data and Audio and Visual Recordings

1,200

UPS Hızlı Kargo Taşımacılığı

Customers 

Identity, Communication, Customer Transaction Data, Audio and Visual Recordings

N/A

AgeSA Hayat ve Emeklilik

Customers 

Identity, Communication, Customer Transaction Data, Audio and Visual Recordings

N/A

Derimod Deri Konfeksiyon Pazarlama Sanayi ve Ticaret

Customers 

Identity, Communication, Customer Transaction Data, Audio and Visual Recordings

N/A

Oto Plan Operasyonel Taşıt Kiralama Ticaret

Customers 

Identity, Communication, Customer Transaction Data, Audio and Visual Recordings

1,236

YOYO Bilgi Teknolojileri ve Turizm Ticaret

Customers 

Identity, Communication, Customer Transaction Data, Audio and Visual Recordings

5,464

Gulf Sigorta

Employees and Customers

Identity, Communication, Customer Transaction Data, Audio and Visual Recordings

295,288

Atatürk Üniversitesi

Employees and Students

Identity, Communication, Data, Information on the Department of Education

 

Approx.  12,000

Puma Spor Giyim Sanayi ve Ticaret

N/A

N/A

N/A

Dagi Giyim Sanayi ve Ticaret

Customers

Identity, Communication, Customer Transaction Data, Audio and Visual Recordings

6,936

Beşiktaş Sportif Ürünleri Sanayi ve Ticaret

Customers and Potential Customers

Identity, Communication, Customer Transaction Data, Audio and Visual Recordings

Approx. 27,920

For further information please contact Ceren Ceyhan, Associate at cceyhan@gentemizerozer.com, Hatice Nur Arslan, Junior Associate, narslan@gentemizerozer.com, or Bahar Bozdemir, Legal Trainee, at bbozdemi@gentemizerozer.com.