No! Our voices are not without rights!

Centralised voice data for compliance

Extracts from Les Echos article published 17 June 2019 in France

By Louis de Gaulle (lawyer), Nina Gosse (lawyer)

82% of the French don’t know that their voice is a personal data in its own right, the same as their address, fingerprints or telephone number. And yet, a multitude of voice manipulation tools are being perfected at unprecedented speeds with technological innovations (…)  The conception and fine-tuning of synthetic voices (…) voice modification (…) of film and TV series dubbing actors… Our voices are truly gold mines and protecting them is just as important as any other personal data.

In light of current and future trends, voice is legally protected in several ways:

  • Intellectual property rights protect vocal performances (…)
  • Criminal and civil procedural laws protect voice from unauthorised recording (…)
  • Personal data protection laws are also fully applicable, via the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Anyone wishing to use or handle a “voice”, meaning voice-data, no matter the context (private, public, professional), must therefore comply with contractual rules as well as the regulations governing the processing of personal data. (…)

In other words, everyone must ensure their technologies used to process voice-data (…) comply with the GDPR. This is (…) for (…) actors such as those in audiovisual and dubbing for example, who handle the voices of many actors all year long.

A decisive line

(…) Corporate marketing and public relation trends of presenting GDPR compliancy as an added value has caught the attention of both the private and public sectors, faced with businesses who are increasingly concerned with partner compliancy, confirms the CNIL 2018 Activity Report.

If last year was seen as a “transition” year, French authorities promise that 2019 will see a tightening of compliancy audits (…) GDPR at the corporate level, as well as society as a whole, is no longer just a “news” topic, but a strategic priority.  Recurring voice-data use, in any form, cannot escape the Regulations and voice databases must be GDPR conform in order to free the potential they embody!

Louis de Gaulle and Nina Gosse are lawyers at De Gaulle Fleurance et Associés in Paris.

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