Article 19 GDPR

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Article 19 - Notification obligation regarding rectification or erasure of personal data or restriction of processing
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Chapter 10: Delegated and implementing acts

Legal Text[edit | edit source]

Article 19 - Notification obligation regarding rectification or erasure of personal data or restriction of processing

The controller shall communicate any rectification or erasure of personal data or restriction of processing carried out in accordance with Article 16, Article 17(1) and Article 18 to each recipient to whom the personal data have been disclosed, unless this proves impossible or involves disproportionate effort. The controller shall inform the data subject about those recipients if the data subject requests it.

Relevant Recitals[edit | edit source]

Recital 62: Exceptions to the obligation to provide information - Article 19

However, it is not necessary to impose the obligation to provide information where the data subject already possesses the information, where the recording or disclosure of the personal data is expressly laid down by law or where the provision of information to the data subject proves to be impossible or would involve a disproportionate effort. The latter could in particular be the case where processing is carried out for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes. In that regard, the number of data subjects, the age of the data and any appropriate safeguards adopted should be taken into consideration.

Commentary[edit | edit source]

Article 19 GDPR requires a controller to communicate to any recipient of affected personal data the exercise of a data subject's right to rectification (Article 16 GDPR), erasure (Article 17 GDPR), or restriction (Article 18 GDPR), subject to certain exceptions.

Requirements of the notification obligation[edit | edit source]

A data subject must have successfully exercised a right to rectification or erasure of personal data or to a restriction of processing.

The affected personal data must also have been disclosed to a recipient. 'Disclosure' can be "by transmission, dissemination or otherwise making available" (→ see also the definition for 'processing' in Article 4(2) GDPR).

Exceptions from the notification obligation[edit | edit source]

The controller is excepted from the communication obligation if the communication itself is impossible or would require a disproportionate effort.

A communication is impossible only if it is factually impossibleto determine the recipients. Financial or other practical difficulties are irrelevant. They may be considered when evaluating disproportionate effort.[1]

Financial and time burdens may qualify as disproportionate effortto communicate the exercise of the data subject's rights to the recipients. There is no absolute burden that triggers disproportionate effort. Disproportionate effort must be evaluated on a case by case basisFinancial and time interests of the controller and the recipients on the one hand will need to be assessed against the interests of the data subject in the communication. To evaluate the interests of the data subject, consideration should be given to the impact of the processing on their rights and freedoms, the likelihood that the recipients will still be processing contrary to the exercise of the data subject's rights, and even whether the communication is actually in the interest of the data subject.[1] As an exception, its scope should be interpreted narrowly. Consequently, the exception extends only to the pure communication and not to any preparatory measures to the communication, such as compiling a list of recipients.

The controller bears the burden of prooffor claiming an exception.

Information obligation towards the data subject[edit | edit source]

The data subject has a right to be informed about the recipients. This should permit the data subject to exercise their rights to rectification, erasure, and restriction of processing directly against the recipients.[2]

The information towards the data subject should comply with the general requirements set forth in Article 12 GDPR.

The information obligation towards the data subject does not apply if it is factually impossible to determine the recipients. However, because the dispropotionate effort exception applies only to the communication itself and not to any preparatory measures to the communication (see above), the data subject has an otherwise absolute right to be informed about the recipients. This understanding is supported by the purpose of Article 19 GDPR, which is to ensure the already exercised rights to rectification, erasure, and restriction. The data subject can only do so if they know the actual recipients of their personal data. This also explains why the information obligation under Article 19 GDPR is stricter than the similar provision of Article 15(1)(c) GDPR, which permits in certain cases that the information provided is limited to "categories of recipient[s]": Article 15 GDPR is a prerequisite for the exercise of all of the data subject's rights; in contrast, Article 19 GDPR permits the data subject to verify that already exercised rights have been complied with.

Member State restrictions[edit | edit source]

→ See Article 23 GDPR.

Decisions[edit | edit source]

→ You can find all related decisions in Category:Article 19 GDPR.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Kamann/Braun in: Ehmann/Selmayr 'Datenschutzgrundverordnung', Art. 19 para 12.
  2. Peuker in: Sydow 'Europäische Datenschutzgrundverordnung', 2nd ed., Art. 19 para 14.