GSMA fined $224K over biometrics ID checks of attendees at MWC 2021

GSMA which is the organiser of tech industry’s flagship event Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, has been fined 200,000 euros (about $224,000) by Spain’s data protection watchdog over the biometric data collection of attendees in its 2021 event

Spanish agency AEPD dismissed an appeal by the GSMA against the infringement finding, saying the MWC organiser infringed “Article 35 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)” which deals with requirements for carrying out a data protection impact assessment (DPIA), reports TechCrunch.

The GDPR legislation requires that a DPIA is carried out “proactively in situations where processing people’s data carries a high risk to individuals’ rights and freedoms”.

GSMA had a facial recognition system in place at the 2021 event, called BREEZZ, which offered attendees the option of using automated identity verification to enter the venue in person.

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Only 20,000 people attended MWC 2021 in person (17,462 to be precise) as per GSMA disclosures to the AEPD, as the event happened in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

About 7,585 used the facial recognition system BREEZZ to access the venue.

The majority of the attendees opted for the alternative of manual checks of their ID documents.

The GSMA had also offered virtual streaming of the event and no ID checks were required.

Several major tech companies had skipped MWC 2021 over Covid concerns.

MWC Barcelona is an annual trade show organised by GSMA, dedicated primarily to the mobile communications industry.

Its annual attendance is generally around 100,000 people, while mobile phone manufacturers often use the conference to unveil upcoming devices.



Originally appeared on: TheSpuzz