Case law: Commission v. Germany (independent DPA)
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-518/07, Commission v. Germany, 9.3.2010
Infringement action against Germany which transposed 2nd para. of Article 28(1) of Directive 95/46 (requirement for an independent DPA) by making the authorities responsible for monitoring PD processing outside the public sector in the different Lander subject to State oversight.
Requirement of complete independence of DPA: Independence normally means a status which ensures that the body concerned can act completely freely, without taking any instructions or being put under any pressure. There is nothing to indicate that the requirement of independence concerns exclusively the relationship between the supervisory authorities and the bodies subject to that supervision. The adjective “complete” implies a decision-making power independent of any direct or indirect external influence on the supervisory authority. The guarantee of independence of DPAs is intended to ensure the effectiveness and reliability of the supervision of compliance with DP provisions, to strengthen the protection of individuals and bodies affected by their decisions. DPAs must act impartially and must remain free from any external influence, including that of the State or Lander, and not of the influence only of the
supervised bodies. Independence precludes not only any influence exercised by supervised bodies, but also any directions or other external influence which could call into question performance of those authorities of their task consisting of establishing a fair balance between the protection of the right to private life and the free movement of PD.
State scrutiny in principle allows the government of the respective Land to influence the decision of the supervisory authority or cancel and replace those decisions. This is not consistent with principle of independence.
Credits and acknowledgment go to Laraine Laudati, OLAF DPO.
Stay tuned for the case law.
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