BVwG - W274 2230370-1/4E

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BVwG - W274 2230370-1/4E
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Court: BVwG (Austria)
Jurisdiction: Austria
Relevant Law: Article 15(3) GDPR
Decided: [[Category:]]
Published: [[Category:]]
Parties:
National Case Number/Name: W274 2230370-1/4E
European Case Law Identifier:
Appeal from:
Appeal to:
Original Language(s): German
Original Source: Datenschutzbehörde - DSB - Newsletter (in German)
Initial Contributor: n/a

The BVwG holds that there is no right to a copy of the documents relating to an exclusion from a religious community under Article 15 (3) GDPR, because they are - as paper files - no file system and therefore excluded from the GDPR.

English Summary[edit | edit source]

Facts[edit | edit source]

The complainant insisted on the transmission of a copy of all documents relating to his exclusion from the religious community of Jehovah's Witnesses (respondents in the main proceedings), which would be in the so-called proclamation report card in a sealed envelope.

Dispute[edit | edit source]

The subject-matter of the complaint in the main proceedings was an alleged infringement of the right of access on the basis of allegedly defective information.

Holding[edit | edit source]

The BVwG argued that a paper files are no file systems and therefore excluded from the GDPR. Moreover, the right to information under the ECJ's ruling is not suitable for securing access to administrative documents.

Comment[edit | edit source]

This summary is based on a summary of a decision in the newsletter of the Data Protection Authority of Austria.

Further Resources[edit | edit source]

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English Machine Translation of the Decision[edit | edit source]

The decision below is a machine translation of the German original. Please refer to the German original for more details.

The subject-matter of the complaint in the main proceedings was an alleged infringement of the right of access on the basis of allegedly defective information.  The complainant insisted on the transmission of a copy of all documents relating to his exclusion from the religious community of Jehovah's Witnesses (respondents in the main proceedings), which would be in the so-called proclamation report card in a sealed envelope.  The data protection authority rejected the initial complaint because it had emerged in the course of the preliminary proceedings that the Jehovah's Witnesses had opened the envelope and had fully examined the personal data contained therein (in particular the grounds for exclusion).  The BVwG argued otherwise: the envelope was a paper file, which is why the applicability of the GDPR would be excluded.  Paper files were not file systems.  Moreover, the right to information under the ECJ's ruling was not suitable for securing access to administrative documents.  The internal documents from an exclusion procedure under the internal statutes of Jehovah's Witnesses were to be treated as administrative documents. The scope of the data copy pursuant to Article 15.3 of the DPA was not to be discussed for lack of general applicability of the DPA.