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Case law: leak of personal data (information)

December 5, 2011 Leave a comment

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).

T-259/03, Nikolaou v. Commission, 12.9.2007

Action for non-contractual liability based on acts and omissions of OLAF. OLAF had disclosed certain information about its investigation concerning the applicant: a leak of information to a journalist; its annual report with information about the investigation; and its press statement. Applicant had requested access to the file and the final case report.

Burden of proof for establishing non-contractual liability: Normal rule: The burden of proof is on the applicant to establish: i) Illegal action of an institution; ii) Damages; iii) Proof that damages were caused by the illegal action of the institution. However, burden of proof shifts to the institution when a fact giving rise to damages could have resulted from various causes, and the institution has not introduced any element of proof as to which was the true cause, even though it was best placed to do so. Court concluded OLAF staff member leaked information (including PD) to a journalist, which were published, and OLAF’s press release confirmed the veracity of facts (including PD) that had been mentioned in several press articles. PD definition: The information published in the press release was PD, since the DS was easily identifiable, under the circumstances. The fact that the applicant was not named did not protect her anonymity. Processing definition: 1. Leak (unauthorised transmission of PD to a journalist by someone inside OLAF) and 2. publication of press release each constitute processing of PD.

Lawfulness:

Leak constitutes unlawful processing in violation of Article 5 of Reg. 45/2001 because it was not authorized by the DS, not necessary under the other sub-paragraphs and it did not result from a decision by OLAF. Even though OLAF has a margin of discretion on transmissions, here it was not exercised because leak is unauthorised transmission. OLAF is best placed to prove how the leak occurred and that the Director of OLAF did not violate his obligations under Article 8(3) of Reg. 1073/99.

In the absence of such proof, OLAF (Commission) must be held responsible. No concrete showing of an internal system of control to prevent leaks or information in question had been treated in a manner that would guarantee its confidentiality.

Publication of press release was not lawful under Article 5(a) and (b) because public did not need to know the information published in the press release at the time of its publication, before the competent authorities had decided whether to undertake judicial, disciplinary or financial follow-up.

Damages for violation of DP rules: violation of Reg. 45/2001 qualifies as an illegal act of an institution conferring rights on an individual. Objective of Reg. is to confer such rights on DSs.

A leak of PD is necessarily a grave and manifest violation. Director has margin of appreciation on prevention, but made no showing.

OLAF gravely and manifestly exceeded the limits of its discretion in the application of Article 5(a) and (e), which was sufficient to engage the responsibility of the Community.

Credits and acknowledgment go to Laraine Laudati, OLAF DPO.

This was the last case law analyzes from this series.

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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Case law: the time limit of right to access

December 2, 2011 Leave a comment

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-553/07, College van burgemeester en wethouders van Rotterdam v. Rijkeboer, 7.5.2009

Reference for preliminary ruling. Dutch law on PD held by local authorities provides that on request, Board of Aldermen must notify a DS within 4 weeks whether his PD have been disclosed to a purchaser or 3rd party during the preceding year. Data held by authority include basic data (name, dob, personal id no., ssn, local authority or registration, etc.) and data on transfers. Mr. R requested to be informed of all instances where data relating to him were transferred in preceding 2 years, content and recipients.

Question referred: whether, pursuant to Article 12(a) (right of access) of Directive 95/46, a DS’s right of access to information on the recipients of PD regarding him and on the content of the data communicated may be limited to a period of one year preceding the request.

Time limit on right of access: Right of access is necessary to enable DS to exercise other rights (rectification, blocking, erasure, and notify recipients of same; object to processing or request damages). The right must of necessity relate to the past, otherwise DS would not be in a position effectively to exercise his right to have data presumed unlawful or incorrect rectified, erased or blocked or to bring legal proceedings and obtain compensation for damages. MSs have some freedom of action in implementing the Directive, but it is not unlimited. Setting of time limit on right of access must allow DS to exercise his rights. It is for MSs to fix a time limit for storage of information on the recipients and the content of data disclosed, and to provide access to that information which constitutes a fair balance between the interest of the DS in exercising his rights and the burden on the controller to store that information. In present case, limiting storage of information on recipients and content to one year, while the basic data is stored much longer, does not constitute a fair balance, unless it can be shown that longer storage would constitute an excessive burden.

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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Case law: Commission v. Germany (independent DPA)

November 30, 2011 Leave a comment

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-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.

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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Case law: data processing

November 28, 2011 Leave a comment

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-73/07, Tietosuojavaltuutettu [Finnish DP ombudsman] v. Satakunnan

Markkinaporssi Oy and Satamedia Oy, 16.12.2008

Reference for preliminary ruling. Defendant 1 (a) collected public PD (name of persons whose income exceeds threshold, amount of earned and unearned income, wealth tax levied) from Finnish tax authorities and (b) published extracts in regional newspaper each year. Newspaper says PD can be removed on request without charge. Defendant 1 also (c) transferred the data on CD ROM to Defendant 2 (owned by same shareholders) which (d) disseminated them by text messaging system. Contracted with mobile telephony company to send text messages allowing users to receive information published in the newspaper; PD removed on request. Questions referred: (1) whether collection, publication, transfer of CD ROM and text messages constitutes processing of PD; (2) whether it is processing for solely journalistic purposes within Article 9 of Directive 95/46; (3) whether Article 17 and principles of Directive 95/46 preclude publication of data collected for journalistic purposes and its onward transfer for commercial purposes; (4) whether PD that has already been published in the media is

outside scope of Directive 95/46.

Processing: All 4 types of activities constitute processing.

Scope: Only two exceptions to scope, set forth in Article 3(2). First indent: security and criminal law=activities of the state. Second indent: processing by a natural person in course of a purely personal or household activity, concerns activities in course of private or family life of individuals. Activities (c) and (d) are activities of private companies, not within the scope of Article 3(2). A general derogation from application of directive in respect of published information would largely deprive directive of its effect. Thus activities (a) and (b) also not within scope of Article 3(2).

Processing for solely journalistic purposes: Article 1 of Directive indicates that objective is that MSs should, while permitting free flow of PD, protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of natural persons and, in particular, their right to privacy, with respect to processing of their PD. That objective can only be pursued by reconciling those fundamental rights with fundamental right to freedom of expression. Article 9’s objective is to reconcile the two rights. MSs required to provide derogations in relation to protection of PD, solely for journalistic purposes or artistic or literary expression, which fall within fundamental right to freedom of expression, insofar as necessary for reconciliation of the 2 rights. To take account of the importance of the right of freedom of expression in every democratic society, it is necessary to interpret notions of freedom, such as journalism, broadly. Derogations must apply only insofar as strictly necessary.

Fact that publication is done for profit making purposes does not preclude publication from being considered as “solely for journalistic purposes.” Medium used is not determinative of whether “solely for journalistic purposes.” Thus activities may be classified as “journalistic” if their sole object is the disclosure to the public of information, opinions or ideas, irrespective of the medium used to transmit them.

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? 

Hit the “subscribe” button in order to be notified when new videos and Articles are posted on this blog.

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

November 25, 2011 Leave a comment

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? 

Hit the “subscribe” button in order to be notified when new videos and Articles are posted on this blog.

Case law: Ireland v. Parliament and Council (data retention)

November 23, 2011 Leave a comment

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-301/06, Ireland v. Parliament and Council (data retention directive), 10.2.2009

Action for annulment of Directive 2006/24/EC on the retention of electronic communication data on ground that it was not adopted on appropriate legal basis (Article 95 TEC), amending Directive 2002/58 (also based on Article 95).

Appropriate legal basis for data retention directive: Court rejected Ireland’s argument that sole or principal objective of directive is investigation, detection and prosecution of crime. Article 95(1) TEC provides Council is to adopt measures for approximation of provisions laid down by law, Reg. or administrative action in MSs which have objective of establishment and functioning of internal market. May be used where disparities exist (or likely to exist in future) between national rules which obstruct fundamental freedoms or create distortions of competition and thus have direct effect on functioning of internal market. Premise of Directive was to harmonize disparities between national provisions governing retention of data by service providers, particularly regarding nature of data retained and periods of data retention. Apparent that differences were liable to have direct impact on functioning of internal market which would become more serious with passage of time.

Article 47 TEU provides that none of provisions of TEC may be affected by provision of TEU, in order to safeguard building of acquis communautaire. Insofar as Directive 2006/24 comes within scope of Community powers, it could not be based on provision of TEU without infringing Article 47. Directive 2006/24 provisions are limited to activities of service providers and do not govern access to data or use thereof by police or judicial authorities of the MSs. They are designed to harmonise national laws on obligation to retain data, categories of data to be retained, periods of retention of data, DP and data security, and conditions for data storage. They do not involve intervention by police or law enforcement authorities of MSs, nor access, use or exchange by them. Thus Directive 2006/24 relates predominantly to functioning of internal market.

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? 

Hit the “subscribe” button in order to be notified when new videos and Articles are posted on this blog.

Case law: Promusicae

November 21, 2011 Leave a comment

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-275/06, Promusicae, 29.1.2008

MS need to balance various fundamental rights when transposing directives: Reference for preliminary ruling. Telefonica had refused to disclose to Promusicae, an NPO, acting on behalf of its members who are holders of intellectual property rights, PD relating to users of the internet who accessed KaZaA file exchange program and shared files of PCs to recordings of Promusicae’s members, by means of connections provided by Telefonica. Promusicae wanted to bring civil actions against those persons. National court referred the question whether Community law permits MSs to limit duty of operators of telecom networks to supply traffic data.

Court held that this question raises the need to reconcile the requirements of protection of different fundamental rights, namely right to respect for private life on the one hand and rights to protection of property and effective remedy on the other hand. Directive 2002/58 provides rules determining in what circumstances and to what extent PD processing is lawful and what safeguards must be provided.

When transposing various intellectual property directives, MS must take care to interpret them such that there is a fair balance struck between the various fundamental rights protected by the Community legal order. Further, when implementing the national law transposing those directives, authorities and courts of the MSs must interpret them in a manner consistent with the directives and make sure that the interpretation does not conflict with those fundamental rights or other general principles of Community law, such as proportionality principle.

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? 

Hit the “subscribe” button in order to be notified when new videos and Articles are posted on this blog.

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