The voice behind the cell phone greets politely, introduces himself by name and announces supposedly good news Pablo Monroy (38 years old) telling him he earned free passes to go to a resort on the Ecuadorian coast. But Pablo doesn’t know the person or company offering him the promotion, and he’s worried. So he asks him how he got the number and how could he win that prize if he didn’t buy a ticket?

The voice behind the phone explains that when he bought clothes at a store, he gave his information and that store shared it: “just name and phone number.” Pablo asks him to tell him which job he got, but the employee tells him that this information cannot be given to him: “In other words, you cannot tell me who gave you my information,” Pablo angrily replies. And since he knows the law, he at least finds a way out: “Can you delete me from that database, please?” and the operator agrees.

Such situations are repeated every day, because hundreds and thousands of calls, WhatsApp messages and electronic mail are made and sent to consumers or customers of companies, banks or telephone companies to inform them about promotions, new plans, health insurance, offer loans and even collect debts; It is not clear where they got the information from. This often becomes annoying because it is constantly repeated.

Paulina Garces (50 years old) an account that receives several calls a day, how to offer your credit cards, loans from banks where you don’t have an account, new cell phone tariffs, health insurance. She says that it causes her stress and that’s why she almost never allows them to advance their offers, but tells them directly that she doesn’t need any service and closes.

Although it exists in the country, a Personal Data Protection Act from May 2021, the culture around this issue has not yet taken root, neither from companies nor from clients, he says Lorena Naranjo, director of the master’s degree in digital law and innovation at the University of America (UDLA). The professor explains that the data law guarantees the protection of citizens’ data precisely so that they can face “these situations that make us feel vulnerable”.

But consider it so It is important to find a middle ground between companies and citizens so that the approach is respectful and transparent (say where the information was obtained), and at the same time customers benefit from promotions or information that they need to know. The tool for this is training, and that is why UDLA opened this master’s degree. In addition, he says, there were isolated supervisory initiatives by banks and companies that taught their own branches about best practice. The ombudsman’s office also organized round tables where this topic was discussed.

However, regrets that one year and nine months have passed since the adoption of the law, and the data supervisor has not yet been appointed, nor is the supervision in question established as indicated by law.

The supervisor should be appointed by the Council for Citizen Participation and Social Control, but the Government did not send a shortlist. Except, On May 27, 2023, the law sanctioning regime will enter into force, but without a structure. Therefore, citizens, who are authorized to submit complaints to judges, will experience a delay in the imposition of sanctions, since they must be channeled through the data authority.

But what does the Data Act allow and what does it prohibit?

The law prohibits the use of personal data without a legitimate basis. This, explains Naranjo, means that it can be used in the following cases:

This last point is crucial. It is that this culture does not exist in the country and therefore sometimes clients give consent without due notice.

One form of consent is the publication of the name and telephone number in the telephone directory, or, for example, in the professional directory, because the information there is public. but also sometimes citizens give data to companies, and they are not clearly warned that it will be shared with third parties.

For this reason, Naranjo believes that it is important that companies have a better practice of accessing customers, that the operators who call know what to say, that they do not disturb the customer, this will allow consumers to be more open to listening to messages and not reject them first, as is happening now in many cases.

However, a customer who does not wish to be invited may request to be removed from the database and whoever calls you must comply with that request.

Customers are also covered The Law on User Protection adopted in 2022, which regulates the regime of telephone calls. This means that unsolicited offers cannot be made outside of working days, that is, from Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., unless the client specifically requests it.

In addition, all phone calls must come from an identifiable number. In addition, this law established restrictions on debt collection by calls, messages or e-mail with the aim of stopping the abuse and harassment that many debtors have been victims of.