Your right to human intervention

Your rights to human intervention in the face of your profiling or automated decision

Collecting and analyzing people’s activity allows us to build profiles to better understand your personality, your buying habits or your behaviors. Sometimes, decisions are made automatically from this profiling, without the intervention of a human.

What's the point?

Profiling is the use of an individual’s personal data to analyze and predict his or her behavior, such as determining his or her work performance, financial situation, health, preferences, lifestyle habits, etc. A profiling treatment is based on the establishment of an individualized profile of a person: it aims to evaluate certain personal aspects of that person, in order to make a judgment or draw conclusions about him or her.

Why is this important?

Profiling is frequently used, for example, to allow :

  • an employer to determine the performance of one of its employees at work,
  • a bank to define the financial situation of a client before granting a loan,
    an insurance company to define the cost of a car insurance,
  • an advertising agency to identify points of interest in order to send targeted advertising to an Internet user

An organization may also use your profile to make a decision about you. Some of these decisions are fully automated, that is, they are made through algorithms applied to your personal data, without any human being being intervening in the process.

Often difficult to understand or to perceive, the decisions produced in an automatic way can nevertheless have significant effects on your daily life, especially if this decision :

  • hinders access to a service (e.g. automatic rejection of a credit) ;
  • puts you at a financial disadvantage (e.g. no bonus, increased cost of a service, etc.)
  • closes your access to a job (e.g. automatic rejection of your application for a job submitted online)
  • has a legal effect on you (e.g. exclusion from a contract or social benefit).

What are your rights regarding an automated decision?

As a matter of principle, you have the right not to be subject to a fully automated decision – often based on your profiling – that has a legal effect or materially affects you. However, an organization may automate such a decision if one of these conditions is met:

  • You have given your explicit consent,
  • The decision is necessary for a contract you have with the organization,
  • The automated decision is authorized by specific legal provisions.

In these cases, you still have the possibility:

  • to be informed that a fully automated decision has been taken against you ;
  • to ask to know the logic and the criteria used to make the decision;
  • to challenge the decision and express your point of view;
  • request the intervention of a human being to review the decision.

What are the limits of the law?

For example, you can object to your telephone company sending you advertising. In this case, the operator will keep your data: only a breach of contract will allow the deletion of your account and your data.

If your request of opposition does not concern prospecting, the organization will be able to justify its refusal on the grounds that :

  • there are valid reasons to use your data;
  • your data is necessary for the establishment, exercise or defense of legal rights;
  • you have given your consent: you must then withdraw this consent and not object;
  • a contract binds you to the organization;
  • a legal obligation requires it to process your data;
  • the processing is necessary to safeguard the vital interests of the data subject or another natural person.

Privacy Center

Data Protection Officer

Source : CNIL
Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés
To protect personal data, support innovation, preserve individual liberties