Persónuvernd (Iceland) - 2022030544

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Persónuvernd - 2022030544
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Authority: Persónuvernd (Iceland)
Jurisdiction: Iceland
Relevant Law: Article 2(2)(c) GDPR
Type: Complaint
Outcome: Rejected
Started:
Decided: 14.06.2023
Published:
Fine: n/a
Parties: n/a
National Case Number/Name: 2022030544
European Case Law Identifier: n/a
Appeal: Unknown
Original Language(s): Icelandic
Original Source: personuvernd (Iceland) (in IS)
Initial Contributor: n/a

The Icelandic DPA held that recording a neighbor’s private conversation and sending the audio recording to the neighbor, with regard to a dispute between the neighbors, falls within the so-called “house exemption” pursuant to Article 2(2)(c) GDPR.

English Summary[edit | edit source]

Facts[edit | edit source]

Person A (the complainant) who lives in an apartment building received an e-mail from their neighbour along with a recording marked “Tal 006”. The recording contained the complainant’s private conversations they had at home where every word could be discerned. The complainant requested the recording to be deleted, but the neighbour refused to delete the recording.

Thereafter, the complainant lodged a complaint with the Icelandic DPA. The complainant stated to the DPA that they were not able to confirm whether the recordings had been shared with others. Furthermore, it appeared in the complainant's answers that there was a dispute with the neighbour that had been been going on for some time, inter alia, because of the issue of acoustics in the house.

Despite multiple requests by the DPA, the neighbour did not provide any statements on their behalf with regard to the complaint.

Holding[edit | edit source]

Generally, this type of processing would fall within the scope of the GDPR. However, in the present case the Icelandic DPA recalled that the GDPR includes an exemption were personal data is processed by a natural person in the course of a purely personal or household activity pursuant to Article 2(2)(c) GDPR.

The DPA noted that the neighbour had not opposed to any of the complainant’s allegations. However, it was found that nothing in the present case suggested that the recording would have been communicated to anyone other than the complainant.

In the DPA’s view, the recording in question and its dissemination were solely intended for the neighbour's personal use, in relation to their dispute with the complainant, with regard to the issue of acoustics in the house. Consequently, the DPA held that the audio recording and its transmission to the complainant falls under the so-call “household exemption” under Article 2(2)(c) GDPR.

Thereupon, the complaint was dismissed.

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

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

Solutions

Recording private conversations and sharing them

Case no. 2022030544

14.6.2023

The Personal Protection Act only applies to information about individuals. They do not apply when individuals process information for personal use. In this case, it was the opinion of the Personal Protection Agency that the recordings were for personal use only.

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The Norwegian Data Protection Authority ruled in a case where there was a complaint about the recording of private conversations and their dissemination. More specifically, a complaint was made that a neighbor had recorded private conversations and sent recordings of them by e-mail to the complainant and others.

The conclusion of the Personal Protection Agency was that it had not been demonstrated that the recordings in question had been communicated to anyone other than the complainant herself and that the processing of the personal information was therefore solely intended for personal use, and the processing therefore fell outside the substantive scope of the Act on Personal Protection and Processing of Personal Information.

Decision

about a complaint about the recording of private conversations and their dissemination in case no. 2022030544:

i
Procedure

On March 11, 2022, Personal Protection received a complaint from [A] (hereinafter the complainant) about recording [B] of the complainant's private conversations and sharing them.

Personal protection invited [B] to comment on the complaint by letter, dated 13 July 2022, 17 August s.á. and 20 September s.á. but no answers have been received. With a phone call on November 3, 2022, Personal Protection requested the complainant's confirmation that the recordings had been shared with unauthorized parties. Personal protection received the complainant's reply by e-mail on 11 a.m.

1.
Complainant's point of view

The complainant, who lives in an apartment building, relies on her neighbor, [B], recording her private conversations, categorizing them and sending her and others recordings of them by e-mail. She received an email from [B] on January 6, 2022, along with a recording marked "Tal 006", which contained a recording of the complainant's private conversation at her home, where every word could be discerned. She requested that the recordings be deleted, but [B] refused. In the e-mail of the complainant to the Personal Protection Agency on November 11, 2022, it was stated that she had not been able to confirm, at the request of the Personal Protection Agency, that the recordings had been shared with others. It is also stated in the complainant's answers that her dispute with [B] has been going on for some time, i.a. due to the acoustics in the house.

2.
point of view [B]

As in the previous article, Personal Protection repeatedly requested [B]'s position on [A]'s complaint, but no answers were received. In that communication, attention was drawn, among other things, to the fact that if no answers were received, the matter would be taken up for resolution on the basis of the available data.

II.
Assumptions and conclusion

Personal protection rulings in disputes concerning Act no. 90/2018, on personal protection and processing of personal information. In this case, the recording of conversations and their dissemination is discussed. The complaint therefore involves the processing of personal data. In general, this kind of processing can fall under the scope of the law and thus the authority of the Personal Protection Agency, cf. i.a. Paragraph 1 Article 4 and paragraph 1 Article 39 of the law.

For that, however, it must be considered that according to paragraph 2 Article 4 Act no. 90/2018, the law and regulation (EU) 2016/679 do not apply to an individual's processing of personal data that only concerns his or his family's private interests or is solely intended for personal use.

In this case, it is assumed that [B], who is the complainant's neighbor in an apartment building, recorded the complainant's private conversations from his own apartment and shared them with her. It has not been objected to by [B], cf. section II.2 above. However, nothing in the case file or the complainant's answers indicates that the audio recordings were shared with anyone other than the complainant herself.

From the documents of the case, it can only be concluded that the recording in question and its sharing were only intended for personal use by [B] in connection with her dispute with the complainant about the acoustics in the house.

With reference to the above, audio recording [B] and its transmission to the complainant is considered to include the processing of personal data by an individual that was intended solely for personal use. Is considered an exemption clause of paragraph 2. Article 4 Act no. 90/2018, cf. also point c, paragraph 2 Article 2 regulation (EU) 2016/679, therefore apply and the processing thereby falls outside the scope of law no. 90/2018 on personal protection and processing of personal information and the authority of the Personal Protection Authority.

The complaint [A] about the recording of private conversations and sharing of recordings of them is therefore dismissed.

Decisions:

[A]'s complaint against [B]'s recording of her private conversations and sharing of recordings thereof is dismissed.

Privacy, 14 June 2023

Helga Sigríður Þórhallsdóttir               Rebekka Rán Samper