Key facts of the case:
The claimant and the respondent were joint owners of a plot of land and a house. The respondent decided to install surveillance cameras on his part of the building in 2009 without asking the claimant for permission. The claimant submitted that his part of the land plot and the house were under constant surveillance by the respondent’s cameras. Such statement was found to be true by lower instance courts.
The applicant requested a decision of the court ordering removal of cameras and prohibition to install them without his permission. The court of first instance rejected the applicant’s claim by stating that there were no laws, prohibiting the respondent to install cameras on his property in order to ensure its protection. The County Court of Vilnius granted the appeal of the applicant and ruled in his favour. The respondent lodged the cassation complaint before the Supreme Court of Lithuania, but the later upheld the judgment of the County Court of Vilnius.
Outcome of the case:
The Supreme Court of Lithuania, taking into account the constitutional status of the right to privacy and the protection of personal data, decided that the exception of “purely” private use should be interpreted narrowly and decided in favour of the claimant: the Supreme Court of Lithuania upheld the decision of the County Court of Vilnius, ordering the respondent the removal of surveillance cameras from the building.
When analysing relevant provisions of European Union law, it should be noted that Article 7 of the Charter provides that everyone has the right to respect for his or her private and family life, home and communications. Article 8 (1) of the Charter provides that everyone has the right to the protection of personal data concerning him or her. Such data must be processed fairly for specified purposes and on the basis of the consent of the person concerned or some other legitimate basis laid down by law. Everyone has the right to access the data that has been collected concerning him or her, and the right to have it rectified (Article 8 (2) and (3) of the Charter).
When deciding, whether the processing of personal data, as in the main proceedings, could be treated as processing “in the course of a purely personal or household activity”, the Court of Justice noted that according to settled case-law, the protection of the fundamental right to private life guaranteed under Article 7 of the Charter requires that derogations and limitations in relation to the protection of personal data must apply only in so far as is strictly necessary.