Guidelines 02/2019 on processing of personal data under 6(1)(b) GDPR in the context of the provision of online services to data subjects
Section 3.4 Processing for personalisation of content
57. The EDPB acknowledges that personalisation of content may (but does not always) constitute an intrinsic and expected element of certain online services, and therefore may be regarded as necessary for the performance of the contract with the service user in some cases. Whether such processing can be regarded as an intrinsic aspect of an online service, will depend on the nature of the service provided, the expectations of the average data subject in light not only of the terms of service but also the way the service is promoted to users, and whether the service can be provided without personalisation. Where personalisation of content is not objectively necessary for the purpose of the underlying contract, for example where personalised content delivery is intended to increase user engagement with a service but is not an integral part of using the service, data controllers should consider an alternative lawful basis where applicable.
Example 7 An online hotel search engine monitors past bookings of users in order to create a profile of their typical expenditure. This profile is subsequently used to recommend particular hotels to the user when returning search results. In this case, profiling of user’s past behaviour and financial data would not be objectively necessary for the performance of a contract, i.e. the provision of hospitality services based on particular search criteria provided by the user. Therefore, Article 6 (1)(b) would not be applicable to this processing activity.
Example 8 An online marketplace allows potential buyers to browse for and purchase products. The marketplace wishes to display personalised product suggestions based on which listings the potential buyers have previously viewed on the platform in order to increase interactivity. This personalisation it is not objectively necessary to provide the marketplace service. Thus, such processing of personal data cannot rely on Article 6 (1)(b) as a legal basis.