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We're a company working in building industry and have a program, develeoped together with our software vendor, to create quotes and configurate products. The program uses a MS SQL database.

It stores mainly following data (customer created): quotes, created material, prices (extra charge), users with names, company phone numbers, emails, etc., customers (customers of our customer), text modules (cover notes, terms, etc.).

When we release a new version (update) sometimes issues occur which happen only at our customers because they've a different database structure for example or different data.

Therefore my question: is it legal to ask a customer if we can use their database for testing purpose or is it not?

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It's not illegal to ask.

Whether they can give it to you, and under what circumstances, is another, much more complicated matter.

For instance, if the database contains health information covered by HIPAA in the United States, or personal information covered by laws like GDPR or CCPA, the customer's ability to share the database may be restricted, either requiring additional confidentiality obligations/use restrictions, or preventing sharing entirely.

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  • What is about prices/charge. Is this something which every customer is free to share if he wants to? Does "the ability to share" depend only on laws like GDPR for user information or plays company secret also a role? – user1673665 Dec 3 '20 at 9:30
  • @user1673665 Company secrets are going to depend on if they have any contracts forbidding them from doing so; they may also simply be unwilling as a matter of company policy. – Ryan M Dec 3 '20 at 10:10
  • @user1673665 Also it seemingly is in customers' best interest to facilitate testing for the purpose of system compatibility as well as to preempt potential inconvenience. These reasons might persuade the customer. Lastly, some of your customers might have a test (to distinguish from production) environment, on which they are likelier to grant access for testing. – Iñaki Viggers Dec 3 '20 at 11:26
  • @Iñaki Viggers good point – user1673665 Dec 18 '20 at 20:11

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