Commissioner (Cyprus) -

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Commissioner -
Authority: Commissioner (Cyprus)
Jurisdiction: Cyprus
Relevant Law: Article 5(1)(c) GDPR
Article 15(3) GDPR
Article 34(1) GDPR
Article 58(2)(b) GDPR
Article 60 GDPR
Article 56 GDPR
Type: Complaint
Outcome: Upheld
Started: 17.11.2021
Decided: 04.10.2023
Published: 25.01.2024
Fine: n/a
Parties: n/a
National Case Number/Name:
European Case Law Identifier: n/a
Appeal: Unknown
Original Language(s): English
Original Source: Office of the Commissioner for Personal Data Protection (in EN) (in EN)
Initial Contributor: co

In the context of an Article 60 GDPR procedure, the Cypriot DPA reprimanded a controller for unlawfully asking a data subject’s ID when addressing an access request and for failing to inform its users properly about a data breach.

English Summary


A data subject requested a copy of the personal data about them under Article 15(3) GDPR to Technius Ltd, the controller, which operates the website, after being informed by the media that the company had suffered a data breach. The data subject also denied ever creating an account on the website and claimed that someone else must have done so using his e-mail address.

The controller replied stating that the only data they processed was the data subject's IP address and username collected upon registration and that the data subject needed to provide an ID for the controller to identify him and proceed with the access request.

The data subject replied stating that the ID was not necessary as he was using his e-mail address. The data subject also complained about the fact that he was not informed about the data breach but found out in the media.

The controller then answered to the data subject saying that his account would be deleted as it was created fraudulently and referred him to the data breach notification on their website.

The data subject filed a complaint. The complaint was initially filed with the Dutch DPA and then transferred to the Cypriot DPA ('DPC'), as the lead supervisory authority in the case under Article 56 GDPR. The DPC started a cooperation procedure under Article 60 GDPR and opened an investigation.

In its submissions, the controller stated that they did not inform users individually about the data breach because they had no indication of who was affected by it and given the high amount of users, it would have taken them too long to inform all of them via email. Further, the controller stated that they required an ID for data subjects’ access requests in order to protect users from unauthorized disclosures and this is in line with Recital 64 GDPR. The controller also claimed to have complied with the access request.

Upon hearing the views of the concerned supervisory authorities, the DPC issued a preliminary decision to the controller who then brought further submissions claiming that it adopted further technical and organizational measures to comply with the GDPR and other mitigating factors that the DPC should take into account in its final decision.


In light of the above, the DPC took its final decision on 4 October 2023.

The DPC held that the controller acted in violation of Article 5(1)(c) GDPR by collecting IDs solely for complying with data subjects’ access requests, as this was excessive. In this respect, the DPC referred to Recital 64 GDPR, stating that collecting identification documents solely for satisfying data subject rights is to be considered excessive.

Further, the DPC considered that the controller acted in violation of Article 34(1) GDPR as it failed to communicate the data breach to its users in an appropriate way. In this, the DPC also referred to Recital 86 GDPR which foresees that prompt communication with the data subjects must be guaranteed in case of a damage. According to the DPC, the controller should have informed the data subjects more directly also given the nature of the breach and the categories of personal data involved, which included data about their sex lives.

In line with Article 58(2)(b) GDPR, the DPC decided to issue a reprimand to the controller.


Notably, the DPC makes a questionable reference to Recital 64 GDPR when referring to the fact that the controller requested the data subject's ID. In fact this does constitute "excessive data retention" but rather a request for purposes of authentication within the meaning of Article 12(6) GDPR.

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English Machine Translation of the Decision

The decision below is a machine translation of the English original. Please refer to the English original for more details.

Our ref.: 4 October 2023
Requesting Excessive Identification Information to Comply to a Subject
Access Request by Technius Ltd
A complaint was lodged with the Netherlands DPA against Technius Ltd (the
controller), whose main establishment is in Cyprus. Moreover, the complaint was
subsequently transmitted to the Office of the Commissioner for Personal Data
Protection (Cyprus SA) on 23/12/2021, in line with Article 56 of the General Data
Protection Regulation (GDPR).
2. On the basis of the above, the Commissioner for Personal Data Protection
(the Commissioner) is acting as the lead authority in this matter. In the course of
the investigation, other EU countries were identified as being concerned by this
Description of the case
3. The complaint was filed against Technius Ltd which manages the website that sells live access to nude models. The complaint included the
following information:
3.1. The complainant was informed through online media that the website
StripChat had suffered a data breach. Following this, he searched his mailbox
and discovered that on 22/10/2019, someone other than himself,
registered/created an account at StripChat using his personal email account. He
then contacted the controller through the support email address on 17/11/2021, requesting to receive a copy of his personal
data held by the company, following the provisions of Article 15 GDPR.
Additionally, he enquired whether his personal data was affected by the above
data breach.
3.2. On 01/12/2021, the controller replied via email address,
informing him that in order to proceed with his request, he had to submit a
government issued identification document, to verify the identity of the person
requesting the data. In his reply, the complainant insisted that requesting a
government ID would be excessive since he has made a request using his email
address and thus no further identification would be required.
3.3. The complainant was further informed that the data which was processed by
the controller and was related to his email address, was the IP address and
username that was collected during the account registration. The controller also
mentioned that if the complainant wanted to receive a copy of these data, they
need to identify him, or alternatively, they could remove the said data completely
from their system.
3.4. The complainant replied and stated that someone else had created the
account on StripChat using his email and also that he was not notified of the data
breach He also refused to provide any copy of identification document. The
controller in their response, informed the complainant that the account would be
deleted as it was created fraudulently and also referred him to the notification of
the data breach on the website’s blog post.
3.5. The controller also informed him that due to the nature of the incident, they
were not in a position to identify the exact data that was affected by the breach.
The complainant responded that he could confirm that his personal data was
affected by the breach through an alert he got by the SpyCloud service.
4. In summary, on the basis of the allegations of the complainant, the controller:
i. only made a public announcement through a blog post, instead of
personally informing him through email, and through the blog
announcement he could not determine whether his personal data was
affected by the incident,
ii. has processed incorrect personal data and stored it for more than two
iii. requested him to submit an identification document in order to fulfill his
access request.
Investigation by Cyprus SA
5.1. The Commissioner’s Office contacted the Controller on 11/2/2022, and
requested their views on the matters raised by the complainant and, among
i. The reason for not informing each data subject individually about the
ii. The legal basis under which an identification document is required to
respond to a data subject’s access request, or any other right (e.g., right
to erasure, to rectification, etc.).
iii. The reason for not satisfying the data subject’s request by providing the
information directly to the connected email.
5.2. In their reply, the controller stated the following:
i. The data breach was deemed is likely to result in a high risk to the rights
and freedoms of the affected data subjects. Moreover, the controller
chose to inform their registered users through the website blog post taking
into consideration:
 That there was no indication of how many and which users were
affected by the breach and
 the very large number of registered emails which would take
approximately 5 months to inform by individual emails.
ii. As regards the identification documents requested,
 the procedure for requesting identification documents is only for
data subject access requests,
 the purpose is to protect user data from unauthorized disclosure,
 the identification documents are deleted after verifying the identity,
 the email address is not a sufficient security measure,
 the identity is authenticated by comparing the identification
document with existing records or billing information,
 the procedure follows the GDPR requirement of using reasonable
measures to verify the identity of the data subject (Recital 64
iii. The complainant’s access request was considered as satisfied since the
controller provided all the necessary information and explanations with
regards to the account opened under his email address as well as all the
information that could be provided about the incident.
5.3. The Commissioner’s Office took into account the above facts and
information, the comments from concerned supervisory authorities, and noted
the below:
i. It was considered that a blog post was not sufficient for the
communication of the data breach to the affected data subjects and thus
the Commissioner immediately instructed the controller to proceed with
sending an email to all registered users regardless of the effort and time
needed. The controller complied with the instruction without delay.
ii. The account registered to the complainant’s email address was active and
thus the erasure of the data was not justified before the complainant
contacted them.
iii. The registration process requires that the user confirms the registration by
using a single-use password that is sent to his mailbox thus ensuring
iv. The complainant’s email address was confirmed during the registration,
which could only be done by a person with access to the specific email
address. Considering that the complainant claims he did not perform the
registration himself, it can be deduced that his email address was
accessed by a non-authorized person.
v. When the complainant informed the controller that someone else used his
email address to register, the controller informed him that in this case, the
Username and IP address were personal data of the third party who
opened the account by using his email address. Moreover, the
complainant was informed about what type of data were related to the
account associated with his email address and was also informed that the
account and the connected personal data would be deleted from the
website database since the account was fraudulently opened.
Preliminary Decision
6. On 15 June 2023, the Commissioner issued a Preliminary Decision regarding
the above investigation. In the said Preliminary Decision, the Commissioner
concluded that:
a. The complainant’s account was active and the controller was not aware
that it was opened fraudulently. Therefore, the controller had no reason to
erase the data before the incident.
b. There is a breach of Article 5(1)(c) GDPR (principle of data minimization)
since the controller did not have a plausible reason to ask for a
government ID from the complainant, specifically considering that:
i. the controller requested the identification before they were notified by
the complainant that the account was opened fraudulently,
ii. the controller could not have used any government ID to identify the
DS, since the controller does not already process any of the data
types included in any government issued ID,
iii. the complainant could have been identified through the linked email
address without the need for additional identification documentation,
c. there is an infringement of Article 34(1) GDPR since the controller did
not communicate the personal data breach in an appropriate way.
7.1. The controller responded on 26 June 2023 to the Preliminary Decision and
stated, inter alia, that:
a. The company has implemented further organizational and technical
measures to guarantee full compliance with the GDPR.
b. With regards to the infringement identified under Article 5(1)(c) of the
GDPR, the collection of identification documents procedure was only
applicable to “access requests” and the intention was strictly to protect the
data of the users from any unauthorized disclosure in accordance with
Recital 64 of the GDPR. Nevertheless, this procedure has been
abandoned and the email verification will be used as a sufficient measure
to verify the ownership of the personal data in question.
c. With regards to the infringement identified under Article 34(1), at that time
it was considered the public announcement through the website blog was
the most suitable and efficient measure to inform the affected users. In
addition, the process of contacting each user personally through an email
would have taken at least 5 months to be completed in comparison with
the mass and immediate notice through the blog. Despite this, the
controller complied with the Commissioner’s instructions and proceeded
with personal email notification as it was not their intention to avoid
informing the affected users.
7.2. In addition to the above, the controller included the following mitigating
factors to be taken into account by the Commissioner:
a. The controller immediately informed the Commissioner about the incident
and took all reasonable steps to mitigate the impact on its users. In
addition, it was and as of today is still in constant communication with the
b. Even though the company has been operating since 2016, it is the first
time that the Commissioner or any other DPA authority receives a
complaint about the company procedures regarding GDPR.
c. The controller complied with all the requests of the Office of the
Commissioner for Personal Data Protection without any delay and
consulted the Commissioner during all steps to ensure compliance with
d. Actively improved its security measures and internal processes as per the
guidance and recommendations of the Commissioner. It informed its
users through direct email communication in addition to the public
announcement initially made and changed its procedure regarding the
access requests of the data subjects.
e. It is clearly evidenced from its immediate compliance with the
Commissioner’s requests that there was no intention to infringe either
article 5(1)( c) or article 34(1) of the GDPR.
Legal framework
8.1. Pursuant to Article 5(1)(c) of the GDPR “Personal Data shall be:
(c) adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the
purposes for which they are processed ('data minimisation');
8.2. Pursuant to article 34(1) of the GDPR “When the personal data breach is
likely to result in a high risk to the rights and freedoms of natural persons, the
controller shall communicate the personal data breach to the data subject
without undue delay.”
8.3. Pursuant to Article 58(2) GDPR, Each supervisory authority shall have all
of the following corrective powers:
…(b)to issue reprimands to a controller or a processor where processing
operations have infringed provisions of this Regulation;
…(d) to order the controller or processor to bring processing operations into
compliance with the provisions of this Regulation, where appropriate, in a
specified manner and within a specified period;
…(i) to impose an administrative fine pursuant to Article 83, in addition to, or
instead of measures referred to in this paragraph, depending on the
circumstances of each individual case;
8.4. Recital 86 of the GDPR states that the need to mitigate an immediate risk
of damage would call for prompt communication with data subjects.
Views of the Commissioner
9. Following the above facts and the response to my Preliminary Decision I note
the below:
9.1. I recognise that the controller’s intention for requesting an identification
document was to protect any unauthorized disclosure. Despite this, as it is stated
in recital 64, a controller should not retain personal data for the sole purpose of
being able to react to potential requests. Thus, collecting identification
documents solely for satisfying data subject rights is excessive, regardless of
when the data is collected.
9.2. Additionally, I hold the position that the controller should have informed the
affected data subjects more directly taking into consideration the nature of the
breach and the categories of personal data affected. This is also strengthened by
the fact that the controller regularly processes data concerning the sex life of its
registered users.
10. Having regard to all the above information, and based on the powers vested
in me by Articles 58 and 83 of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 and article 24(b) of
National Law 125(I)/2018, I conclude that there is an infringement by Technius
Ltd of Article 5(1)(c) and 34(1) of the GDPR, for the reasons mentioned above.
11. Moreover, following an infringement of Article 5(1)(c) and 34(1) GDPR, as
explained above, under the provisions of Article 83 of the GDPR, I take into
account the following mitigating (1-3) and aggravating (4-6) factors:
1. That there is no previous violation by the controller of the GDPR.
2. The controller complied with all the requests of the Commissioner without any
3. The measures taken after the incident to ensure that all staff is appropriately
trained in handling GDPR matters.
4. The controller should have taken appropriate and prompt measures in
effectively communicating the breach to its users.
5. The complainant should have been identified using other less excessive
6. The controller should have implemented more appropriate procedures and
measures considering the processing of special categories of data.
14. In view of the above and on the basis of the powers conferred on me by the
provisions of subparagraph (b) of paragraph (2) of Article 58 of the GDPR, I have
decided to issue a reprimand to Technius Ltd for the infringement mentioned in
paragraph 10 above. In the event of a recurrence of a similar infringement within
12 months from today, this Decision may be counted against the company.
Irene Loizidou Nicolaidou
For Personal Data Protection