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

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.

Paragraphs referring to EU Charter: 

In accordance with Article 96 of the Constitution of Latvia everyone has the right to inviolability of their private life, housing and correspondence. The right to privacy is also enshrined in Article 8 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (hereinafter - the Convention) and Article 7 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (the Charter). The right to privacy also includes the right of a person to any of his or her data protection (see paragraph 6 of the Supreme Court judgment of April 8, 2016, in case No. SKA-15/2016 (A420617410)). In addition, Article 8 of the Charter specifically states that every person has the right to the protection of his or her personal data, but that such data must be processed in good faith for specified purposes and with the consent of the person concerned or with any other legitimate justification provided for by law. Everyone has access to the data collected about them and the right to make corrections to these data. In order to ensure effective protection of the rights of individuals, the data protection regulation is further specified in 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 (hereinafter referred to as Directive 95/46), and Law on the Personal Data Protection.

Article 100 of the Constitution of Latvia protects the right to freedom of expression. Therefore, when assessing the protection of personal data in the context of Internet publications, the rights of others to freedom of expression, such as the right of the public to receive information, as well as the right of information of the individuals concerned, also protected by Article 10 of the Convention and Article 10 of the Charter, should also be taken into account. The harmonization of these interests is also provided for in the Law on the Personal Data Protection, that is, Article 5 states that, in observing the rights of the person to the inviolability of private life and freedom of expression, Articles 7, 8, 9, 11 and 21 of this Law are not applicable if personal data have been processed for journalistic purposes in accordance with the Law "On the Press and Other Mass Media" for artistic or literary purposes and unless otherwise provided by law. In addition, the concept of "journalistic needs" in the context of this article should be interpreted as broadly as possible, including the activities aimed at the dissemination of information, opinions or ideas through any means of dissemination (see, in particular, Satakunnan Markkinapörssi and Satamedia, judgment of 16 December 2008, C-73 / 07, ECLI: EU: C: 2008: 727, paragraphs 52-61).

Paragraphs referring to EU Charter (original language): 

Saskaņā ar Latvijas Republikas Satversmes (turpmāk – Satversme) 96.pantu ikvienam ir tiesības uz privātās dzīves, mājokļa un korespondences neaizskaramību. Tiesības uz privātās dzīves neaizskaramību ietvertas arī Eiropas Cilvēka tiesību un pamatbrīvību aizsardzības konvencijas (turpmāk – Konvencija) 8.pantā un Eiropas Savienības Pamattiesību hartas (turpmāk – Harta) 7.pantā. Tiesības uz privātās dzīves neaizskaramību ietver arī personas tiesības uz jebkuru savu datu aizsardzību (sk. Augstākās tiesas 2016.gada 8.aprīļa sprieduma lietā Nr. SKA-15/2016 (A420617410) 6.punktu). Turklāt Hartas 8.pantā ir īpaši norādīts, ka ikvienai personai ir tiesības uz savu personas datu aizsardzību, bet šie dati ir jāapstrādā godprātīgi, noteiktiem mērķiem un ar attiecīgās personas piekrišanu vai ar citu likumīgu pamatojumu, kas paredzēts tiesību aktos. Ikvienam ir pieejas tiesības datiem, kas par viņu savākti, un tiesības ieviest labojumus šajos datos. Lai nodrošinātu efektīvu personu tiesību aizsardzību, datu aizsardzības regulējums sīkāk noteikts Eiropas Parlamenta un Padomes 1995.gada 24.oktobra direktīvā 95/46/EK par personu aizsardzību attiecībā uz personas datu apstrādi un šādu datu brīvu apriti (turpmāk – direktīva 95/46) un Fizisko personu datu aizsardzības likumā.

Satversmes 100.pants aizsargā tiesības uz vārda brīvību. Tāpēc gadījumos, kad jāvērtē personas datu aizsardzība interneta publikāciju kontekstā, jāņem vērā arī citu personu tiesības uz vārda brīvību, proti, sabiedrības tiesības saņemt informāciju, kā arī konkrēto personu tiesības informāciju izplatīt, kas arī aizsargātas Konvencijas 10.pantā un Hartas 10.pantā. Šo interešu saskaņošana paredzēta arī Fizisko personu datu aizsardzības likumā, proti, tā 5.pantā norādīts, ka, ievērojot personas tiesības uz privātās dzīves neaizskaramību un vārda brīvību, šā likuma 7., 8., 9., 11. un 21.pants netiek piemērots, ja personas dati ir apstrādāti žurnālistiskām vajadzībām saskaņā ar likumu „Par presi un citiem masu informācijas līdzekļiem”, mākslinieciskām vai literārām vajadzībām un ja likumā nav noteikts citādi. Turklāt jēdziens „žurnālistiskas vajadzības” šā panta kontekstā tulkojams iespējami plaši, iekļaujot darbības ar mērķi publiskot informāciju, viedokļus vai idejas ar jebkāda izplatīšanas līdzekļa palīdzību (sal. Eiropas Savienības Tiesas 2008.gada 16.decembra sprieduma lietā Satakunnan Markkinapörssi un Satamedia, C -73/07, ECLI:EU:C:2008:727, 52.–61.punkts).

 

Language: 
Latvian
Deciding body (original language): 
Augstākās tiesas Administratīvo lietu departaments
Language: 
Latvian