CJEU - C‑184/20 - Vyriausioji Tarnybinės Etikos Komisija

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CJEU - C‑184/20 - Vyriausioji Tarnybinės Etikos Komisija
Cjeulogo.png
Court: CJEU
Jurisdiction: European Union
Relevant Law: Article 6(1) GDPR
Article 6(3) GDPR
Article 9(1) GDPR
Decision: 2008/801/EC
The Lietuvos Respublikos viešųjų ir privačių interesų derinimo valstybinėje tarnyboje įstatymas Nr. VIII-371 (Law No VIII-371 of the Republic of Lithuania on the reconciliation of public and private interests in the public service)
The United Nations Convention against Corruption - Resolution 58/4 of the United Nations General Assembly of 31 October 2003
Decided: 01.08.2022
Parties: OT
Vyriausioji tarnybinės etikos komisija (Chief Official Ethics Commission)
Fondas ‘Nevyriausybinių organizacijų informacijos ir paramos centras’
Case Number/Name: C‑184/20 - Vyriausioji Tarnybinės Etikos Komisija
European Case Law Identifier: ECLI:EU:C:2022:601
Reference from: Vilnius Regional Administrative Court (Lithuania)
Language: 24 EU Languages
Original Source: AG Opinion
Judgement
Initial Contributor: Alexander Smith

The CJEU held in its preliminary ruling that the publication of the name of civil servants' spouse, cohabitant or partner and of the subject of their transactions is likely to indirectly disclose their sexual orientation and therefore constitutes processing of special categories of personal data. National legislation requiring such online publication is consequently contrary to the GDPR.

English Summary[edit | edit source]

Facts[edit | edit source]

Pursuant to the United Nations Convention against Corruption and Council Decision 2008/801/EC of 25 September 2008, Lithuania created domestic legislation to document conflicts of interests of those working in the public service or in the public interest.

These laws required those individuals to provide details about themselves and their spouse, cohabitant, or partner to the Chief Official Ethics Commission. This included (amongst others) name, personal identification number, social security number, employment status, membership or undertakings with trade unions and/or political parties and information about transactions over EUR 3,000 concluded during the last 12 calendar months. The Chief Official Ethics Commission would then publish information on a public website (not including identification numbers, membership or undertakings with trade unions or political parties) as a 'declaration'. Notably, the published information, whilst removing what was obviously special categories of personal data, would still include the name of their spouse, cohabitant, or partner.

The data subject challenged this, arguing that the publication of this information would indirectly disclose the sexual orientation of the data subject.

There were two questions referred to the CJEU:

1 - Should Article 6(1)(e) GDPR, with regard to Article 6(3) GDPR, including the requirement that the Member State law must be proportionate, be interpreted as meaning that national law may not require the disclosure of declarations of private interests and their publication on the website of the controller, thereby providing access to those data to all individuals who have access to the internet?

2 - Should Article 9(1) GDPR, considering Article 9(2) GDPR (including Article 9(2)(g) GDPR) and Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, be interpreted as meaning that national law may not require the disclosure of data relating to declarations of private interests which may disclose personal data, including data which make it possible to determine a person’s political views, trade union membership, sexual orientation and other personal information, and their publication on the website of the controller, providing access to those data to all individuals who have access to the internet?

Advocate General Opinion[edit | edit source]

The Advocate General's opinion on each question was:

1 - The provisions must be interpreted as prohibiting such a national law/regulation when that measure in question is not appropriate, necessary, or proportionate.

2 - The provisions must be interpreted in the sense that this use of special category personal data is capable of indirectly communicating sensitive data.

Holding[edit | edit source]

The CJEU's holding for each question was:

1 - The relevant provisions must be interpreted as precluding national legislation that provides for the online publication of the declarations in so far as that publication concerns name-specific data relating to his or her spouse, cohabitant or partner, or to persons who are close relatives of the data subject [or are otherwise required to be listed under the legislation], or it concerns any transaction concluded during the last 12 calendar months the value of which exceeds EUR 3 000.

2 - The relevant provisions must be interpreted as meaning that the publication of personal data on the website of the public authority which are liable to disclose indirectly the sexual orientation of a natural person constitutes processing of special categories of personal data.

Comment[edit | edit source]

Further Resources[edit | edit source]

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