CJEU - C-212/13 - František Ryneš

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CJEU - C-212/13 František Ryneš
Court: CJEU
Jurisdiction: European Union
Relevant Law:
Article 11 Directive 95/46
Article 13(1) Directive 95/46
Article 18(1) Directive 95/46
Article 2 Directive 95/46
Article 3 Directive 95/46
Article 7 Directive 95/46
Recital 10 Directive 95/46
Recital 11 Directive 95/46
Recital 12 Directive 95/46
Recital 14 Directive 95/46
Recital 16 Directive 95/46
Paragraph 3(3) of Czech Law No 101/2000 Sb. on the Protection of Personal Data
Paragraph 44(2) of Czech Law No 101/2000 Sb. on the Protection of Personal Data
Paragraph 5(2)(e) of Czech Law No 101/2000 Sb. on the Protection of Personal Data
Decided: 11.12.2014
Parties: František Ryneš
Úřad pro ochranu osobních údajů,
Case Number/Name: C-212/13 František Ryneš
European Case Law Identifier: ECLI:EU:C:2014:2428
Reference from: NSS (Czech Republic)
Language: 24 EU Languages
Original Source: Judgement
Initial Contributor: Elaine Thuo

On 11 December 2014, the Court decided the Rynes case. The decision concerns the interpretation of the processing of personal data using the operation of a camera system installed on a family home for the purpose of security.

English Summary


Mr. Rynes installed a camera system on his family home for the purpose of protection, health and life of his family. His family had, for several years been subjected to attacks by unknown people and it was difficult to identify them. The camera system recorded the entrance to his home, the public foot path, and the entrance to the house opposite his home. On the night of 6th to 7th October 2007, there was an attack on his home. The camera system made it possible to identify the two suspects involved. Mr. Rynes handed over to the police the recording to be relied on in the criminal proceedings. One of the suspects questioned the legality of the video recording and Mr Rynes was found to have infringed Law No. 101/2000 with respect to the protection of personal data. In particular, he was found to be a data controller who used the camera system to collect information without the consent of persons moving on the streets or opposite house. In addition, he had failed to inform them of the processing of personal data and lastly, as a Data Controller, he had not fulfilled the obligation to report the processing to the relevant office. Mr Rynes brought an action challenging this decision before the Prague City Court who dismissed the action. He appealed the decision to the Supreme Administrative Court who stayed the proceedings and referred the matter to the CJEU.


The dispute in question is whether the operation of a home camera system which records people for purpose of protecting the property but monitors a public space amounts to processing of personal data as enumerated under Article 3(1) Directive 95/46.


The court looked at the term personal data under Article 3(1) Directive 95/46 and Article 2(a) Directive 95/46 which is defined as any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person, an identified person being one who can be identified directly or indirectly in reference to one or more factors specific to his physical identity. Accordingly, the court held that the image of a person recorded by a camera system constitutes personal data, in as much as its possible to identify a person, within the definition under Article 2(a) Directive 95/46.

With respect to automatic processing of personal data, the court highlighted that the definition of processing under Article 2 (a) means any operation performed on personal data such as collection, storage and recording. The court also relied on Recitals 15 and 16 of Directive 95/46 which include video surveillance as a form of automatic processing. The video recording was stored on a continuous recording device and as such, this operation was held to be automatic processing of personal data in accordance to Article 3(1) Directive 95/46.

Moreover, the court held that the processing did not fall within the exceptions under Article 3(2) Directive 95/46. It reiterated that the exceptions must be construed narrowly in order not to infringe on personal rights and freedoms. Thus, for the exception to succeed, the court stated that the processing must be purely for household activities not simply personal or household activities.


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