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1 & 1 has to pay millions penalty for data breach

The Federal Data Protection Commissioner imposed a fine of 9.55 million euros against the technology group. The company wants to sue for the punishment.

 1 & 1 has to pay millions penalty for data breach

Dusseldorf The Federal Data Protection Commissioner Ulrich Kelber had announced a tougher action against companies in case of violations. On Monday his authority imposed a fine of 9.55 million euros against the telecommunications service provider 1 & 1 .

Kelber said, "Privacy is a fundamental right. The fines imposed are a clear sign that we will enforce this protection of fundamental rights. "1 & 1 did not sufficiently protect the information of its customers, said Kelber.

His agency accuses the company of being too frivolous in releasing "extensive information on other personal customer information" on the customer hotline. In a specific case, it was sufficient to give the name and date of birth of a customer in order to obtain extensive information.

1 & 1 announced a lawsuit against the fine. The company's data protection officer, Julia Zirfas, said: "The fine is absolutely disproportionate." The calculation of the fines on the turnover of companies is excessive and not provided for in the General Data Protection Regulation, argued Zirfas.

The company stated: "The case in question already occurred in 2018. Specifically, it was about the telephone query of the mobile number of a former life partner." The employee at the hotline adhered to the then usual security guidelines. Meanwhile, the requirements have been further tightened.

The fine hits 1 & 1 in the middle of an important phase. The parent company United Internet announced on Monday to want to dissolve the cross-shareholding with the start-up developer Rocket Internet with two share buybacks.

"The involvement in Rocket Internet has no great strategic value for us," said a United spokeswoman in Montabaur. United Internet had joined Rocket shortly before the Berlin company's IPO five years ago, but had to write off its share package in 2016 by a quarter of a billion euros, because the Rocket share had lost around half of its value.

Samwer can expand its stake in Rocket

Now Rocket Internet wants to buy back the remaining stake of 7.4 percent for 241 million euros. In return, United will buy back much of the 5.5 percent block that Rocket had reported just a month ago for the same amount. The CEOs and major shareholders Ralph Dommermuth (United Internet) and Oliver Samwer (Rocket) are considered close confidants.

Dommermuth had long invested in a start-up fund Samwers before the founding of Rocket. Rocket Internet recently acquired 12.3 percent of Tele Columbus in search of attractive shareholder options.

Dommermuth is the largest shareholder in the cable network operator with 29.7 percent. Most recently, Rocket Internet sat after the IPO of several holdings to 2.6 billion euros.

To the motives for the unbundling a Rocket spokeswoman would not comment. Samwer had recently denied speculation he wanted to take Rocket Internet off the stock market to invest more autonomously. With the repurchase of a total of ten percent of Rocket shares and the subsequent confiscation of the papers, he can now drive his stake from 44 percent recently towards 50 percent.

If United Internet does not quite get rid of its share package in the course of the share buyback because too many other shareholders are applying for it, Samwer wants to take over the remaining United shares for the same price.

From Wednesday until December 18, Rocket offers € 21.50 each for its own shares - less than the stock market price and a total of € 324 million. On Monday, the papers rose in Xetra trading by 4.6 percent to 22.75 euros.

United Internet wants to buy up to 4.4 percent of its shares for 267 million euros, just under four percent wants to submit alone Rocket Internet. Again, the offer price of 29.65 euros below the stock market price of 30.47 euros.

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