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 2.7 Necessary for taking steps prior to entering into a contract
45. The second option of Article 6 (1)(b) applies where processing is necessary in order to take steps at the request of the data subject prior to entering into a contract. This provision reflects the fact that preliminary processing of personal data may be necessary before entering into a contract in order to facilitate the actual entering into that contract.
46. At the time of processing, it may not be clear whether a contract will actually be entered into. The second option of Article 6 (1)(b) may nonetheless apply as long as the data subject makes the request in the context of potentially entering into a contract and the processing in question is necessary to take the steps requested. In line with this, where a data subject contacts the controller to enquire about the details of the controller’s service offerings, the processing of the data subject’s personal data for the purpose of responding to the enquiry can be based on Article 6 (1)(b).
47. In any case, this provision would not cover unsolicited marketing or other processing which is carried out solely on the initiative of the data controller, or at the request of a third party.
Example 5 A data subject provides their postal code to see if a particular service provider operates in their area. This can be regarded as processing necessary to take steps at the request of the data subject prior to entering into a contract pursuant to Article 6(1)(b).
Example 6 In some cases, financial institutions have a duty to identify their customers pursuant to national laws. In line with this, before entering into a contract with data subjects, a bank requests to see their identity documents. In this case, the identification is necessary for a legal obligation on behalf of the bank rather than to take steps at the data subject’s request. Therefore, the appropriate legal basis is not Article 6(1)(b), but Article 6(1)(c)