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Case law: Huber v. Germany (deletion of personal data)

This month E-Crime Expert is presenting relevant Case law and rulings regarding data protection rights, law applicability and enforcement.

The purpose of this new series is to show actually how the relevant law should be applied in order to properly balance the right to free access of public information, free flow of information and the right to Privacy and Personal Data protection.

The series will balance both the applicability of Data Protection law in the private and public sector, focusing mostly on the Directive 95/46/EC (private sector) and Regulation 45/2001/EC (rights to data protection of individuals working with/for EU Institutions and bodies).

C-524/06, Huber v. Germany, 16.12.2008

Reference for preliminary ruling. Huber, an Austrian national who is resident in Germany, requested the deletion of PD relating to him (name, date and place of birth, nationality, marital status, sex, entries and exits from Germany, residence status, particulars of passports, statements as to domicile, reference numbers) in the German Central Register of Foreign Nationals (AZR). Bundesamt assists public authorities responsible for application of law related to foreign nationals and asylum. Used for statistical purposes and by security and police services and judicial authorities re prosecution an investigation of criminal activities. Germany rejected the request.

Question submitted wrt DP: Is processing of PD of Austrian national in AZR compatible with the requirement of necessity under Article 7(e) of Directive 95/46?

Scope of Directive 95/46: Article 3(2) exclude from scope of Directive 95/46 processing of PD concerning public security, defence, criminal law activities. Thus, in this case, only processing for purpose relating to right of residence and for statistical purposes fall within scope of 95/46.

Necessity requirement: In light of intention that Directive 95/46 is intended to ensure an equivalent level of DP in all MSs, to ensure a high level of protection in the Community, concept of necessity in Article 7(e) cannot have a meaning which varies between MSs.

Thus, it is a concept which has its own independent meaning in Community law, and must be interpreted in manner which fully reflects the objective of Directive 95/46.

Under Community law, right of free movement of a MS national is not unconditional, but may be subject to limitations and conditions imposed by treaty and implementing rules.

Legislation provides that a MS may require certain documents to be provided to determine the conditions of entitlement to right of residence. Thus, it is necessary for a MS to have relevant particulars and documents available to it in order to ascertain whether a right of residence in its territory exists. Use of a register to support authorities responsible for application of legislation on right of residence is, in principle, legitimate.

However, register must not contain any information other than what is necessary for that purpose, and must be kept up to date. Access must be restricted to the responsible authorities. Central register could be necessary if contributes to more effective application of that legislation. National court should decide whether these conditions are satisfied.

Only anonymous information is required for statistical purposes.

Credits and acknowledgment go to Laraine Laudati, OLAF DPO.

Stay tuned for the case law.

Any questions can be submitted to: dan@e-crimeexpert.com

Additional information can be found at: www.e-crimeexppert.com

What do you think about the findings? Do you think that the applicant was right? 

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