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Data Protection Commission

Press Release

7 December, 2007

Commissioner suspends planned legal enforcement action following Sky withdrawal of Customer Notice


The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner has announced that Sky Ireland has withdrawn a notice regarding changes to how the company uses customer information which issued to customers with the recent December edition of the Sky Magazine.  A notice to this effect is to be placed on the home page of the Irish section of the Sky.com site (http://www.sky.com/portal/site/ireland/products/article?contentid=2257910).

The withdrawal follows an extraordinarily high number of complaints from Irish customers of Sky to the Data Protection Commissioner in relation to the content of the notice and intensive contact between the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner and Sky in the past week.  (See press release of 30 November 2007 for background).  The customer notice outlined changes to the way in which Sky intended to use customer data. The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner considered the changes to be unacceptable.  Furthermore several customers reported extreme difficulty in trying to contact Sky to convey their preferences in relation to the content of the notice.

Sky has further committed to issuing a revised notice to customers in the February edition of the Sky Magazine which will be published in January and to fully engaging with the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner in relation to its content.

Arising from this withdrawal of the customer notice and the undertaking to work with the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner to seek to ensure that any future notice is in full compliance with Irish Data Protection Law, planned legal enforcement action which the Commissioner had intended initiating today has been suspended.

Speaking today, the Commissioner stated "I welcome Sky's voluntary withdrawal, in response to the concerns that have been raised with my Office by some of its customers, of the unacceptable notice that issued in relation to its use of customer data. The practices outlined in the notice were unacceptable for Irish Data Protection law.   My Office's discussions with Sky have sought to ensure that the strong rights that Irish citizens enjoy under Irish and European law are fully respected by the company.  I look forward to a continuation of those discussions."

Ends

For more information:
Tony Delaney
Assistant Commissioner
Office of the Data Protection Commissioner
Portarlington
Co. Laois.

Telephone 057 8684800