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Latvia / Supreme Court, Administrative Affairs Division / A420471613 (SKA-276/2017)

anonymised

Deciding Body type:
National Court/Tribunal
Deciding Body:
Supreme Court
Type:
Decision
Decision date:
22/02/2017

Key facts of the case: 

An interview containing information, inter alia, about the marital status of the interviewee and the occupation of her spouse at the time was published in a newspaper owned by the applicant; alongside the printed version of the newspaper, the interview was also published in its online version. Upon changes in the marital status of the interviewee she sought the removal of the said interview. Therefore, by a decision of the State Data Inspectorate, the applicant was requested to delete the said information from the online version of the newspaper. The applicant sought the cancellation of the decision claiming that the online version of the newspaper serves as an archive of the printed issues, therefore the content has to be identical, but her claim was rejected by both the Administrative District Court and Administrative Regional Court. The decision was based on the following argument: while the interviewee agreed for the interview to be published in the newspaper, she did not know about the online version of the newspaper, where all the content of the paper version is archived for a long period of time and had not expressly agreed for the interview to be published there. Consequently, she counted on the information to be accessible for a limited number of people for only a limited period of time. Therefore, the Inspectorate claimed, the applicant had violated the Personal Data Protection Law of Latvia (Section 10), whereby personal data may be processed only insofar as they do not exceed the intended purpose and period prescribed for the intended purpose, which in this case corresponds to the period of time of the paper version of the newspaper being available to the public for purchase.

Outcome of the case: 

The Court annulled the decision of the Administrative Regional Court and sent back the case to the Court for review based on the considerations that it had not sufficiently taken into account the fact that although unaware of the online version of the newspaper, the person whose data is contained in the article had given consent for the interview to be published.