Key facts of the case:
Processing of personal data — Directive 95/46/EC — Article 2(a) and Article 7(f) — Concept of ‘personal data’ — IP addresses — Retention by a provider of electronic media services — National legislation which does not allow account to be taken of the legitimate interests pursued by the controller
Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:
- In view of the foregoing I propose that the Court answer the questions referred to it as follows:
(1) Pursuant to Article 2(a) of Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, a dynamic IP address, through which a user has accessed the web page of a provider of telemedia, constitutes for the latter ‘personal data’, to the extent that an Internet service provider has other additional data which, when linked to the dynamic IP address, facilitates identification of the user.
(2) Article 7(f) of Directive 95/46 must be interpreted as meaning that the objective of ensuring the functioning of a telemedium can, in principle, be regarded as a legitimate interest, the purposes of which justify the processing of personal data, subject to an assessment that that interest prevails over the interests or fundamental rights of the person concerned. A national provision which did not allow that legitimate interest to be taken into account would be incompatible with that article.
- Dynamic IP addresses, merely by providing information on the date and time of accessing a web page from a computer (or other device), show some patterns of Internet users’ behaviour and therefore involve a potential interference with the right to respect for private life, (14) guaranteed by Article 8 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and by the Article 7 of the Charter, in whose light, as well as that of Article 8 thereof, Directive 95/46 must be interpreted. (15) In fact, the parties to the dispute do not call into question that premiss, which is not the subject matter, as such, of the question referred.