Wrote down Lufthansa CS nametag & security was called on me. GDPR?

Old Jun 27, 19, 6:32 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: USA
Programs: Frontier 100K, AC SE100K, BA Gold, WN A-/CP, Hyatt Globalist
Posts: 3,590
Wrote down Lufthansa CS nametag & security was called on me. GDPR?

Tonight I went to a Lufthansa CS desk at FRA and asked a question about a likely diversion due to a curfew at our destination.

The agent was clearly passing the buck ("I can assure you there will be people at the outstation when you arrive near midnight waiting to help.... I will not note your file that we spoke", etc).

So I
1) looked at his abbreviated LH nametag
2) wrote it down on a piece of scrap paper

I then was told I had broken the law and could not leave with my note. Kept saying it was a GDPR violation for me to do so. I explained I was doing so as I always keep a log of who I speak to, just in case things are not as promised and I had to write in that agents will want some detail of the steps I took to try and proactively avoid avoid trip interrupton.

I had to head back to my gate for final boarding. He then screamed and dispatched airport security to stop me which caused a small scene.

I did not want to surrender my property to them and said so, calmly but insistently. My scrap paper (newspaper actually) was then forcefully removed from my hands and security scratched out the name with a pen.

If I knew I was in the right I'd have insisted on police presence... But at minimum, I would have which missed the last flight of the night...

So what do you think? Did I unknowingly try to break some law?

My feeling is that if employee (especially customer service agent) names were a secret they wouldn't be required to wear them as part of their uniform.
Surface Interval likes this.

Last edited by expert7700; Jun 27, 19 at 6:52 pm
expert7700 is offline  
Old Jun 27, 19, 7:14 pm
  #2  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: DCA
Programs: UA US CO AA DL FL
Posts: 42,944
Rubbish. Even if not, airport security certainly does not enforce the GDPR.

But, writing down someone's name so that they can see you doing it is incredibly poor form and is absolutely the wrong approach. Just walk away and then write the guy's name down.

In your situation, hand over the paper and then write the name on another slip.
Often1 is offline  
Old Jun 27, 19, 11:22 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 325
Originally Posted by expert7700 View Post
So what do you think? Did I unknowingly try to break some law?
Probably yes. GDPR defines personal data as “‘[P]ersonal data’ means any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (‘data subject’).”, and clarifies “[A]n identifiable natural person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person.”

I can give you the example of some countries in Europe where the names and photos of police officers are confidential information and taking notes / photos of them can land you directly in jail. If you want to complaint about one, you need to ask for their professional ID number that can only be traced back to the individual by the complaints unit.

Also, please we aware that this kind of behaviour will not help you at all in Europe.
schrodingerdog is offline  
Old Jun 28, 19, 12:19 am
  #4  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Berlin, Germany; Toronto, Canada; and SW Florida, USA
Programs: UA 1K, BA Gold, Hyatt Globalist, and assorted others
Posts: 22,907
Respectfully, I think you handled this rather poorly. I will not profess any detailed knowledge of GDPR, but it seems that there was some deliberate confrontation and grandstanding here on your part. The whole thing is a bit silly, right? The person wore a name tag, so his name is not a secret. You are obviously capable of remembering the name that you saw. So, you could have typed it into your phone a minute after leaving the desk, especially once you sensed the temperature rising. Why did you allow the scene to happen at all. I would have given the agent the scrap of paper and and just memorised the name for a few minutes.

Last edited by LondonElite; Jun 28, 19 at 12:27 am
LondonElite is offline  
Old Jun 28, 19, 1:07 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Usually seat 1A, home:Tallinn
Programs: LH -- HON Circle *, IHG Spire Elite, Hilton Gold, 1865 Voyager
Posts: 160

If somebody is representing company, as that agent did, hi must be possible for customer to identify him. And there is 2 options: by his name (what must not be the actual name, can be name for customers, but then company need to know, who it was actually) or number/code. If the name is written and visible, absolutely everybody have right to write it down.

I had about year ago similar situation with one purser who just did not her work as needed.
Before disembarking aircraft I told to her what I am thinking of her job-quality level and wrote down her name.
She also tried to tell me that I have no right to write down her name.
Well...
I approached after that to situation very officially and 3 days later got 50k miles on my account + apology phone-call and later apology-letter with confirmation, that this purser is not working as purser any more.

Actually I find it very disciplining for any agent/purser/who-ever to write down their name when they see it.
If you point here that you see that you was discriminated it will make all the process much faster.
And such an unpolite agentswill soon not work on current position.

You should also write official complain to LH.
mikew99, htb, Tyrolean and 5 others like this.

Last edited by totti; Jul 1, 19 at 2:27 am Reason: Removed sentence that violated FT rules
Raul_R is offline  
Old Jun 28, 19, 1:27 am
  #6  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Berlin, Germany; Toronto, Canada; and SW Florida, USA
Programs: UA 1K, BA Gold, Hyatt Globalist, and assorted others
Posts: 22,907
Originally Posted by Raul_R View Post
I approached after that to situation very officially and 3 days later got 50k miles on my account + apology phone-call and later apology-letter with confirmation, that this purser is not working as purser any more.
Whilst I'm not disputing your story, I'm surprised LH shared HR decisions with you (which would be in contravention of GDPR).
LondonElite is offline  
Old Jun 28, 19, 1:41 am
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: USA
Programs: Frontier 100K, AC SE100K, BA Gold, WN A-/CP, Hyatt Globalist
Posts: 3,590
I appreciate the replies and feedback on both sides.

I was not telling him that I was going over his head, or was going to lodge a complaint. This wasn't the case here, I had simply looked back up at his name and wrote a note (I thought discretely). It was an unusual name and I would have forgotten it two seconds later otherwise.

I have seen people rudely insist on having someone's name and saying they will be reporting them or getting them in trouble with the bosses. Or even take photos of a worker which I'd surely agree is a privacy issue. The security guard seemed surprised that the agent called him over something I wrote, and triple checked with the agent that it wasn't photos that he needed me to delete on my phone.

If it bugs me a day or two from now I will write into LH to pose a similar ? to them.
expert7700 is offline  
Old Jun 28, 19, 2:03 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: HKG
Programs: LH HON
Posts: 183
Originally Posted by expert7700 View Post
I appreciate the replies and feedback on both sides.

I was not telling him that I was going over his head, or was going to lodge a complaint. This wasn't the case here, I had simply looked back up at his name and wrote a note (I thought discretely). It was an unusual name and I would have forgotten it two seconds later otherwise.

I have seen people rudely insist on having someone's name and saying they will be reporting them or getting them in trouble with the bosses. Or even take photos of a worker which I'd surely agree is a privacy issue. The security guard seemed surprised that the agent called him over something I wrote, and triple checked with the agent that it wasn't photos that he needed me to delete on my phone.

If it bugs me a day or two from now I will write into LH to pose a similar ? to them.
To the original point: Although IANAL, the GDPR argument is a huge, huge pile of cow manure. GDPR doesn't apply to individuals who are using personal data for their private purposes (which clearly was the case here). Also your newspaper hardly counts as a "filing system" (which would be a requirement for GDPR to apply)
If that LH agent would really think that using his name is a GDPR violation, how does she/he explain that LH still makes him/her wear a name tag?!
htb, Tyrolean, Temedar and 5 others like this.
zara is offline  
Old Jun 28, 19, 2:10 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 4,091
Originally Posted by Raul_R View Post
apology-letter with confirmation, that this purser is not working as purser any more.
Blimey, I'm actually surprised HR haven't shared the purser's mobile number as well just in case you wanted to 'have a word' with her directly

G
AlicorporateUK is offline  
Old Jun 28, 19, 4:27 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 6,126
Airport security forcibly removed the piece of paper from your hand? Wow.

What airport security? Is this G4S?

I’m surprised they can manhandle pax at all, I would have thought they had the same rights to touch you as you have to touch them. They’re not police. That sounds like assault.

Writing down someone’s name is totally reasonable. I wouldn’t let this go. You need to complain to the highest level.

The advice from others that you made it worse is based only on the fact that frequent flyers know that a lot of the FRA ground staff are a$$holes and suffer from a typical God complex. But why should you accept that?

I presume you are a man? If not, then I am even more shocked you were manhandled, but if you are indeed a man, imagine if they did that to you as a woman, then add a race element. They should all be looking at suspension. The police are not there to enforce unlawful interpretations of the law, it would have been the same.

Writing down someone’s public name tag is not a GDPR breach.
hugolover is offline  
Old Jun 28, 19, 4:54 am
  #11  
Moderator: Lufthansa Miles & More, External Miles & Points Resources
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: MUC
Programs: LH SEN
Posts: 37,112
Just before lunch I happened to be in a meeting with our colleague from legal who handles all GDPR related topics. I described this thread and he clearly said writing down the name of a front line employee who is wearing a name tag is not a GDPR violation.

BTW, if the employee annotated your reservation (ie 'made a note') then the agents ID is available in the change log of the PNR. Lufthansa can easily trace the details.
oliver2002 is offline  
Old Jun 28, 19, 5:28 am
  #12  
Hilton 5+ BadgeAccor 10+ Badge
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Rhineland-Palatinate
Programs: OW Ruby (BA), *A Gold (A3), Le Club Accor Silver, HHonor Gold
Posts: 2,337
I am in charge of GDPR implementation at my work.
What you did is not a GDPR violation. Security agent (not Polizei) forcibly removing from you is an assault. I seriously suggest contacting a lawyer.

Whilst I'm not disputing your story, I'm surprised LH shared HR decisions with you (which would be in contravention of GDPR).
LH should absolutely not share an HR decision with a customer. But doing it is absolutely not a contravention of GDPR.
fransknorge is offline  
Old Jun 28, 19, 6:38 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: London
Programs: *A G, OW S, ST Elite.
Posts: 737
Originally Posted by schrodingerdog View Post
Probably yes. GDPR defines personal data as “‘[P]ersonal data’ means any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (‘data subject’).”, and clarifies “[A]n identifiable natural person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person.”

I can give you the example of some countries in Europe where the names and photos of police officers are confidential information and taking notes / photos of them can land you directly in jail. If you want to complaint about one, you need to ask for their professional ID number that can only be traced back to the individual by the complaints unit.

Also, please we aware that this kind of behaviour will not help you at all in Europe.
GDPR relates to how a company uses personal data of a data subject.

It has no control whatever about what a private individual may record or do with data they hold. If Lufthansa does not want its employees' names known, why give them name badges in the first place? Surely the distribution of the badges and a requirement to wear them would be the data breach.

Had an employee called security to me for recording their name, I would have insisted on a police presence and the Lufthansa airport duty manager and not moved until there was resolution.

An employee hiding behind having their name recorded is only trying to cover up their poor performance.
lhrpete, coolbeans202, htb and 8 others like this.
Dover2Golf is offline  
Old Jun 28, 19, 7:03 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 6,126
Originally Posted by oliver2002 View Post
Just before lunch I happened to be in a meeting with our colleague from legal who handles all GDPR related topics. I described this thread and he clearly said writing down the name of a front line employee who is wearing a name tag is not a GDPR violation.

BTW, if the employee annotated your reservation (ie 'made a note') then the agents ID is available in the change log of the PNR. Lufthansa can easily trace the details.
What a disappointingly litigated world we live in. I feel so old to remember the time when anyone with a brain would know that writing down an employees name tag was not a data breach. Common sense has been ejected from Helga's leaking lav pipes!

Let alone we would even consider to ask a lawyer this question. (This is not directed at you as a criticism oliver2002) but a symptom of the vastly over regulated costs of doing business that you even thought to ask.
nancypants likes this.
hugolover is offline  
Old Jun 28, 19, 7:07 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 6,126
Originally Posted by Dover2Golf View Post
GDPR relates to how a company uses personal data of a data subject.

It has no control whatever about what a private individual may record or do with data they hold. If Lufthansa does not want its employees' names known, why give them name badges in the first place? Surely the distribution of the badges and a requirement to wear them would be the data breach.

Had an employee called security to me for recording their name, I would have insisted on a police presence and the Lufthansa airport duty manager and not moved until there was resolution.

An employee hiding behind having their name recorded is only trying to cover up their poor performance.
And if you missed your flight then you would rightly hold LH liable for the unlawful behaviour of their employee and/or its agents.

Unfortunately the public tend to believe that anyone in a uniform is right, won't push back. Like the pensioners who will let someone wearing a high-vis into their home to check their meter, just because its a high-vis. More and more regulations only make this worse.

I am more appalled that the airport security forcibly removed the paper from the pax, TOUCHED A PAX! Is that really allowed in Germany? What legal basis do they operate under? In the UK they would have no more powers than the OP has, I thought it was the same in Germany.

And let's not mention the 1984 style scribbling out the name as that surely removes the name from the pax's mind . LOL.
lhrpete, KRSW, dav662 and 1 others like this.
hugolover is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread