Bouygues Télécom is in the crosshairs of eWatchers, an association for the defense of privacy on the Internet. The association accuses Martin Bouygues’ operator of hiding spy pixels in emails sent to its 22 million subscribers, in flagrant violation of the GDPR. eWatchers filed a complaint with the CNIL.
Like all operators, Bouygues Télécom regularly sends e-mails to its 22 million fixed and mobile subscribers. These emails inform customers about a price increase, their monthly bill, or any promotions.
According to a survey carried out by eWatchers, a French association with the aim of “Improve the protection of Internet users and make them aware of the importance of security and privacy”, these seemingly harmless emails hide spy pixels. They are small images of just 1 pixel, saved in PNG or GIF formats, whose quantity in e-mails has exploded in recent years.
Bouygues Télécom accused of sharing customer data with third parties
These pixels, loaded automatically as soon as the subscriber opens the email, allow Bouygues collect information about your customers. Among the identified pixels, there is a pixel linked to Google Analytics and a pixel belonging to Weborama, a marketing company.
Also according to eWatchers, these two pixels make it possible collect IP address from Internet users. Even more worrying, Bouygues has “Failed to enable the option to anonymize IP addresses collected by Google Analytics and failed to disable the option not to use collected data for targeted advertising”. In concrete terms, personal data may be used for advertising purposes by Google and Weborama.
This practice is contrary to the rules of the RGPD, the General Data Protection Regulation (RGPD) which entered into force in 2018. To collect an Internet user’s IP address, a company must obligatorily obtain its explicit consent. “Bouygues Telecom does not, however, communicate any information to its subscribers about the presence of these web beacons and also does not allow them to oppose them”, laments eWatchers.
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In a complaint filed with the CNIL, the French National Commission on Informatics and Liberties, the defense association demands that the operator gets rid of all the spy pixels hidden in your emails and informs its subscribers about data collection. Finally, eWatchers would like Bouygues to do everything in his power to ensure that data collected by companies like Google and Weborama is erased. Compensation, whose value is not indicated, is also the order of the day.