Difference between revisions of "Rb. Midden-Nederland - UTR- 20 817 en UTR 20 3081"

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The Court confirmed that Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens is obliged to either send complainant a progress report or close the investigation completely within 3 months.  
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The Court of Midden-Nederland confirmed that the Dutch DPA (Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens) is obliged to either send complainant a progress report or close the investigation completely within 3 months. Different obligations apply where this is not possible.  
  
 
Where a complaint cannot be handled within 3 months, AP is obliged to: (i) deal with the complaint within a reasonable period; (ii) keep the complainant updated of the progress withing a reasonable period and inform the complainant if an investigation or coordination with other supervisory authorities is required.
 
Where a complaint cannot be handled within 3 months, AP is obliged to: (i) deal with the complaint within a reasonable period; (ii) keep the complainant updated of the progress withing a reasonable period and inform the complainant if an investigation or coordination with other supervisory authorities is required.

Revision as of 10:03, 4 November 2020

Rb. Midden-Nederland - UTR- 20 _ 817 en UTR 20_3081
Courts logo1.png
Court: Rb. Midden-Nederland (Netherlands)
Jurisdiction: Netherlands
Relevant Law: Article 77 GDPR
Article 78(2) GDPR
4:13 General Administrative Law Act
Decided: 15.10.2020
Published: 26.11.2020
Parties: Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens
National Case Number/Name: UTR- 20 _ 817 en UTR 20_3081
European Case Law Identifier: ECLI:NL:RBMNE:2020:4442
Appeal from:
Appeal to: Unknown
Original Language(s): Dutch
Original Source: de Rechtspraak (in Dutch)
Initial Contributor: n/a

The Court of Midden-Nederland confirmed that the Dutch DPA (Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens) is obliged to either send complainant a progress report or close the investigation completely within 3 months. Different obligations apply where this is not possible.

Where a complaint cannot be handled within 3 months, AP is obliged to: (i) deal with the complaint within a reasonable period; (ii) keep the complainant updated of the progress withing a reasonable period and inform the complainant if an investigation or coordination with other supervisory authorities is required.

English Summary

Facts

On 21 of January 2019 complainant lodged a complaint with Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens against a data broker called Focum. In his view, Focum processed his data unlawfully and wrongly rejected his erasure request. On 21 of February 2020 complainant started a court case against Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens for not deciding on his complaint on time and demanding compensation.

Dispute

Complainant believes that AP is obliged to issue a decision within a reasonable timeline, which is 8 weeks according to the Dutch Administrative law.

Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens disagrees: Article 78(2) GDPR defines the applicable time frame in line with Article 4:13(1) of the Dutch Administrative law. AP must inform complainant of the progress or settlement of the complaint within 3 months.

Holding

The Court ruled against complainant’s arguments for the following reasons:

1) Article 78(2) GDPR defines the applicable time frame in line with Article 4:13(1) of the Dutch Administrative law. The reason for not putting a deadline in the law is because complaints can lead to long and complex investigations and include cross-border data processing, meaning that other supervisory authorities might need to get involved.

2) According to Recital 141 GDPR, AP must update complainant within a reasonable period. In this case, AP sent an email to complainant on 20 march 2019, which counts as a progress report even if it doesn’t explicitly say so in the email itself. Moreover, the email stated that the investigation involved cross-border processing and that the complaint may be handled together with other European supervisory authorities.

3) When assessing whether the decision on the complaint took too long, the Court took the following into account:

- AP was conducting their investigation based on several different complaints from different people.

- The investigation included an on-site inspection and coordination with other supervisory authorities in the EU.

- COVID-19 measures that have slowed the AP down.

The Court concludes that the reasonable period mentioned in Recital 141 has not yet been exceeded.

4) This large-scale investigation was necessary and follows from the complaint, contrary to what complainant argued during the hearing.

5) AP kept complainant sufficiently informed of its investigation. Incidentally, one of the notices could not be considered a progress report, however, the subsequent notices from the AP were enough. AP also could not share more detail with the complainant in order to prevent Focum from finding out about the investigation.

Because of the above, the complaint about the late decision was filed prematurely and is inadmissible. AP was handling the investigation at a reasonable pace and kept informing complainant at a reasonable period.


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English Machine Translation of the Decision

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

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            </script><meta property="dcterms:identifier" content="ECLI:NL:RBMNE:2020:4442" datatype="xsd:anyURI" /><meta property="dcterms:title" content="ECLI:NL:RBMNE:2020:4442, Rechtbank Midden-Nederland, UTR- 20 _ 817 en UTR 20_3081" /><meta property="dcterms:issued" content="2020-10-26" datatype="xsd:date" /><link rel="dcterms:publisher" /><link rel="dcterms:type" href="http://psi.rechtspraak.nl/uitspraak" title="Statement" /><meta property="dcterms:language" content="nl" datatype="xsd:language" /><meta property="dcterms:creator" content="<span>Rechtbank Midden-Nederland</span>" scheme="overheid.RechterlijkeMacht" resourceidentifier="http://standaarden.overheid.nl/owms/terms/Rechtbank_Midden-Nederland" /><meta property="dcterms:modified" content="2020-11-02" datatype="xsd:date" /><meta property="dcterms:abstract" content="<inhoudsindicatie xmlns="http://www.rechtspraak.nl/schema/rechtspraak-1.0" id="ECLI:NL:RBMNE:2020:4442:INH" lang="nl" xml:space="preserve"><parablock><para>Binnen welke termijn moet de AP een klacht afhandelen in de zin van artikel 77 van de AVG?</para><para>Trefwoorden: AVG, klacht, verzoek om handhaving, redelijke termijn, artikel 77 en 78 van de Avg, overweging 141 bij de AVG</para><para>Samenvatting</para><para>Eiser heeft een klacht ingediend bij verweerder, omdat een handelsinformatiebureau zijn persoonsgegevens zonder toestemming verwerkt. Eiser wil gebruikmaken van zijn recht op vergetelheid. Deze klacht is gebaseerd op artikel 77 van de AVG en moet worden gezien als een verzoek om handhaving. Eiser heeft vervolgens een beroep niet-tijdig bij de rechtbank ingesteld, omdat volgens hem niet tijdig tot een afronding van de klacht is gekomen. De rechtbank heeft in deze uitspraak vastgesteld wat de verplichtingen zijn van verweerder bij de afhandeling van een klacht als bedoeld in artikel 77 van de AVG. Hierbij heeft de rechtbank artikel 78 van de AVG toegepast en daarbij de uitleg in overweging 141 van de AVG en de parlementaire geschiedenis van de UAVG betrokken. De rechtbank komt tot de conclusie dat de AP verplicht is om:</para><para>- eiser binnen drie maanden ófwel een bericht van de voortgang te sturen ófwel zijn klacht geheel af te handelen. </para><para>Als de klacht niet binnen drie maanden is afgerond moet de AP:</para><para>- de klacht binnen een redelijke termijn afhandelen;</para><para>- en eiser tussentijds binnen een redelijke termijn op de hoogte houden van de voortgang en informeren of er onderzoek of coördinatie met een andere toezichthoudende autoriteit is vereist.</para><para>De rechtbank heeft het beroep van eiser aan de hand van die vereisten beoordeeld en geconcludeerd dat nog geen sprake is van niet-tijdig beslissen. Van doorslaggevend belang is dat de afhandeling van de klacht van eiser onderdeel uitmaakt van een groot en complex onderzoek naar datahandel en dat dit onderzoek ook gaat over landsgrensoverschrijdende verwerkingen van persoonsgegevens. Verweerder heeft eiser verder voldoende op de hoogte gehouden van de afhandeling van zijn klacht. De inhoud en frequentie van de voortgangsberichten zijn in orde. 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</div --><div class="toolbar"></div><!-- END HEADER --><div class="rs-main-contentarea" id="mainContent" data-target=".rs-main-contentarea"><a class="rnl-button rnl-pagefeedbackform-button no-print" onclick="navigaToFeedbackForm();" href="javascript:undefined"><span>Feedback</span></a><div class="rnl-content rnl-content-main"><div class="rnl-header-image-container"><div class="rnl-image-gradient"></div><img src="/SharedWebResources.axd?images/uitspraken-header-image-comp.jpg" alt="" /></div><div class="container"><div class="page-header rnl-page-header rnl-page-header-image"><div class="row"><div id="header" class="col-md-8"><h1> Pronunciations</h1></div></div><!--/.row --></div></div><div class="container"><div class="row"><div class="col-md-12"><div class="rs-panel zoektermen-wrapper"><div class="rs-panel-heading no-print"><h2> <a class="rs-accordion-title" data-toggle="collapse" href="#zoektermen" role="button" aria-expanded="true" aria-controls="zoektermen">Search terms found<span class="rs-collapse-icon-down"></span></a></h2></div><div class="row"><div class="col-md-12"> <label for="showhighlights" id="showhighlightslabel" class="label-highlights pull-left highlights-background"><input type="checkbox" id="showhighlights" name="showhighlights" checked><span id="markeringen-toggle-tekst">Turn markers off</span></label></div></div><div class="collapse in rs-panel-body gevondenZoektermen no-print" id="zoektermen"><!-- --></div></div></div></div><div class="row opnieuw-zoeken-buttons"><div class="col-md-4"> <a href="/" class="rs-btn rs-btn-secondary search-btn-uitspraken" onclick="javascript:_paq.push(['trackEvent','uitspraken-pagina', 'button', 'opnieuw-zoeken']);">Search again</a></div><div class="col-md-4"> <a href="javascript:_paq.push(['trackEvent','uitspraken-pagina', 'button', 'terug-naar-resultaten']);history.back();" class="rs-btn rs-btn-primary search-btn-uitspraken">Back to the results</a></div></div><div class="row nieuwe-zoekopdracht-button"><div class="col-md-4"> <a href="/" class="rs-btn rs-btn-primary search-btn-uitspraken">New search</a></div></div><div id="alert-region"><!-- --></div><div class="row"><div id="content" class="col-md-12"><div id="Main" class="rs-panel"><div class="rs-panel-heading rs-heading-inline"><h1 id="ZoekresultaatTekst" class="structural"> Search result - view document</h1><h2 class="left"> ECLI: NL: RBMNE: 2020: 4442</h2><div class="btn-group rs-share rs-hide-mobile no-print"> <button class="rs-btn-secondary rs-btn dropdown-toggle" type="button" id="dropdownMenu1" data-toggle="dropdown" aria-haspopup="true" aria-expanded="true">Share pronunciation<span class="tri-down"></span></button><ul class="dropdown-menu rs-dropdown" aria-labelledby="dropdownMenu1"><li> <a href="javascript:window.print()" id="linkToPrint" class="printUitspraak" title="Print the document" onclick="javascript:_paq.push(['trackEvent','uitspraken-pagina', 'button', 'printen']);"><span>Print</span></a></li><li> <a class="pdfUitspraak no-print" href="/InzienDocument/GetPdf?ecli=ECLI%3ANL%3ARBMNE%3A2020%3A4442" onclick="javascript:_paq.push(['trackEvent','uitspraken-pagina', 'button', 'download-pdf']);">Save as PDF</a></li><li> <a href="javascript:undefined" id="copyUitspraak" class="no-print" data-clipboard-text="http://deeplink.rechtspraak.nl/uitspraak?id=ECLI:NL:RBMNE:2020:4442" title="Copy link to statement" onclick="javascript:_paq.push(['trackEvent','uitspraken-pagina', 'button', 'kopieer']);"><span>Copy link</span></a></li></ul></div><div class="rs-copied-to-clipboard" id="clipboardInfo" style="display: none;"> Link copied to clipboard</div></div><div class="rs-panel-body"><dl class="dl-horizontal"><dt> Authority</dt><dd> <span>Central Netherlands District Court</span></dd><dt> Date of judgment</dt><dd> 15-10-2020</dd><dt> Date of publication</dt><dd> 26-10-2020</dd><dt> Case number</dt><dd> <span>UTR-20_ 817 and UTR 20_3081</span><br /></dd><dt> Jurisdictions</dt><dd> <span>Administrative law</span><br /></dd><dt> Special characteristics</dt><dd> <span>First instance - multiple</span><br /></dd><dt> Content indication</dt><dd><div class="inhoudsindicatie"><div class="parablock"><p> Within what period must the DPA deal with a complaint within the meaning of Article 77 of the GDPR?</p><p> Keywords: GDPR, complaint, request for enforcement, reasonable term, Articles 77 and 78 of the Avg, recital 141 of the GDPR</p><p> Summary</p><p> The claimant has lodged a complaint with the defendant because a trade information agency is processing his personal data without permission. Plaintiff wishes to exercise his right to be forgotten. This complaint is based on Article 77 of the GDPR and should be seen as a request for enforcement. The plaintiff subsequently did not lodge an appeal with the court on time, because, according to him, the complaint was not concluded in time. In this judgment, the court has established what the defendant's obligations are in dealing with a complaint as referred to in Article 77 of the GDPR. In doing so, the court applied Article 78 of the GDPR, taking into account the explanation in consideration 141 of the GDPR and the parliamentary history of the UAVG. The court concludes that the AP is obliged to:</p><p> - to either send the claimant a report of the progress or to deal with his complaint in full within three months.</p><p> If the complaint is not completed within three months, the AP must:</p><p> - deal with the complaint within a reasonable period of time;</p><p> - and in the meantime, keep the claimant informed of progress within a reasonable time and whether an investigation or coordination with another supervisory authority is required.</p><p> The court has assessed the claimant's appeal on the basis of those requirements and concluded that no late decision has yet been taken. It is decisive that the handling of the plaintiff's complaint is part of a large and complex investigation into data trade and that this investigation also concerns cross-border processing of personal data. The respondent has also kept the plaintiff sufficiently informed of the handling of his complaint. The content and frequency of the progress messages are correct. The late appeal is therefore inadmissible and no penalty payments have been forfeited.</p></div></div></dd><dt> Locations</dt><dd> <span>Rechtspraak.nl</span><br /></dd><dt class="no-print"></dt><dd class="no-print"> <a href="https://linkeddata.overheid.nl/document/ECLI:NL:RBMNE:2020:4442" id="linkToKoop" class="koopUitspraak" title="Enriched pronunciation"><span class="no-print">Enriched pronunciation</span></a></dd></dl><div class="btn-group rs-share rs-hide-desktop no-print"> <button class="rs-btn-secondary rs-btn dropdown-toggle" type="button" id="dropdownMenu1" data-toggle="dropdown" aria-haspopup="true" aria-expanded="true">Share pronunciation<span class="tri-down"></span></button><ul class="dropdown-menu rs-dropdown" aria-labelledby="dropdownMenu1"><li> <a href="javascript:printUitspraak()" id="linkToPrint" class="printUitspraak" title="Print the document" onclick="javascript:_paq.push(['trackEvent','uitspraken-pagina', 'button', 'printen']);"><span>Print</span></a></li><li> <a class="pdfUitspraak no-print" href="/InzienDocument/GetPdf?ecli=ECLI%3ANL%3ARBMNE%3A2020%3A4442" onclick="javascript:_paq.push(['trackEvent','uitspraken-pagina', 'button', 'download-pdf']);">Save as PDF</a></li><li> <a href="javascript:undefined" id="copyUitspraak" class="no-print" data-clipboard-text="http://deeplink.rechtspraak.nl/uitspraak?id=ECLI:NL:RBMNE:2020:4442" title="Copy link to statement" onclick="javascript:_paq.push(['trackEvent','uitspraken-pagina', 'button', 'kopieer']);"><span>Copy link</span></a></li></ul></div><div class="uitspraakH3"><h3> Statement</h3></div><div><div class="uitspraak"><div class="uitspraak-info"><h2 name="ID0EJ" style="font-weight:bold;" class="bridgehead"> COURT OF THE MIDDLE NETHERLANDS</h2><p> Seat in Utrecht<span class="linebreak1"> </span></p><div class="parablock"><p>Administrative law</p></div><span class="linebreak1"> </span><div class="parablock"><p>case numbers: UTR 20/817 and UTR 20/3081</p></div><span class="linebreak1"> </span><h2 name="ID0E5" style="font-weight:bold;" class="bridgehead">Judgment of the Multi-Judge of 15 October 2020 in the case between</h2><h2 name="ID0EDB" style="font-weight:bold;" class="bridgehead"> [plaintiff], at [place of residence], plaintiff</h2><p> (authorized representative: mr. L. Brouwers),<span class="linebreak1"> </span></p><div class="parablock"><p>and</p></div><span class="linebreak1"> </span><h2 name="ID0ERB" style="font-weight:bold;" class="bridgehead">the Dutch Data Protection Authority, defendant</h2><p> (Agents: mr. E. Nardelli and mr. OS Nijveld).<span class="linebreak2"> </span></p></div><div class="section procesverloop"><h2>Process course</h2><span class="linebreak1"> </span><div class="parablock"><p>This judgment concerns the appeal submitted by the plaintiff because the defendant did not decide on his complaint in time.<span class="linebreak1"> </span></p><p>This judgment also concerns the appeal that the plaintiff filed on August 25, 2020 against the decision of the defendant of July 16, 2020, in which the defendant declared the claimant's objection against the decision of February 4, 2020 unfounded. In the decision of 4 February 2020, the defendant established that no penalty payments for late decisions were forfeited.<span class="linebreak1"> </span></p><p>The defendant has submitted two statements of defense. The court has handled the appeals jointly.</p></div><span class="linebreak1"> </span><div class="parablock"><p>The hearing took place on September 23, 2020. Plaintiff appeared, assisted by his representative. The defendant was represented by his agents.</p></div><span class="linebreak1"> </span></div><div class="section overwegingen"><h2>Considerations</h2><span class="linebreak1"> </span></div><div class="section"><h2>What is this statement about?</h2><ol class="arabic" name="ID0EFD"><li><p> Plaintiff has filed a complaint against Focum. Focum is a commercial information agency that collects data from consumers to make it available to clients with the aim of limiting their financial risks. Plaintiff, when he wanted to conclude a contract with an energy supplier, discovered that Focum processes his personal data. The plaintiff considers this processing unlawful and wishes to exercise his right to be forgotten. Focum wants to cooperate in this, but then the plaintiff must send his ID and he does not want that. Plaintiff has offered Focum an alternative: he wants to visit Focum with his ID. Focum refuses this, because the company states that it is not set up for such a method. The plaintiff therefore submitted a complaint as referred to in Article 77, first paragraph, of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to the defendant on 21 January 2019. In the complaint, the plaintiff argues that Focum incorrectly processes personal data and that Focum wrongly does not implement the plaintiff's right to be forgotten. The defendant must impose an appropriate sanction on Focum, according to the plaintiff. Because the defendant has not yet decided on the complaint and the plaintiff believes that it should have, the plaintiff filed an appeal with the court on February 21, 2020. The plaintiff also wishes an assessment of the decision in which the defendant refused to pay him penalties for the late decision. According to the plaintiff, the defendant is obliged to do so. The plaintiff has therefore filed a separate appeal against the decision of 16 July 2020.<br /> <span class="emphasis" style="font-style:italic;">What decision period must the defendant adhere to when dealing with a complaint?</span></p></li><li><p> The relevant regulations are included in an appendix. That appendix is part of the judgment.<span class="linebreak1"> </span></p></li><li><p>The court finds that the plaintiff's complaint must be regarded as a request for enforcement within the meaning of the General Administrative Law Act (Awb). This was the intention of the legislator, as appears from the explanatory memorandum to the Implementation Act of the General Data Protection Regulation (UAVG). <a class="noteref" href="#_9a1c8d07-f517-4e65-983f-4eae3079e4de" title="TK II 2017-2018, 34851, no. 3 pp. 27">1</a><span class="linebreak1"> </span></p></li></ol><p>4. The question now is within what term the respondent must decide on the plaintiff's complaint. Respondent refers to Article 78, second paragraph, of the GDPR and takes the position that this article contains a statutory decision period as referred to in Article 4:13, first paragraph, of the Awb. Under Article 78, second paragraph, of the GDPR, the defendant is obliged to inform the plaintiff within three months of the progress or the handling of his complaint.<span class="linebreak1"> </span></p><p>5. Plaintiff sees this differently. According to him, Article 78, second paragraph, of the GDPR does not contain a firm statutory decision period, as referred to in Article 4:13, first paragraph, of the Awb. After all, it does not say until when the defendant could make a final decision on the complaint. The absence of such a statutory decision period means, on the basis of Article 4:13, first paragraph, of the Awb that the complaint must be completed within a reasonable period of time after receipt of the application. According to the second paragraph of that article, a reasonable term is eight weeks. This means that the plaintiff's complaint should have been handled by the defendant eight weeks after it was received. This has wrongly not happened.<span class="linebreak1"> </span></p><p>6. Plaintiff cannot be proved right. Article 78 of the GDPR does contain a decision period as referred to in Article 4:13 of the Awb. This is explicitly intended by the legislator, in view of the explanation to the UAVG. Both the explanatory memorandum to the UAVG, <a class="noteref" href="#_d8343a4c-02b1-4100-8c65-24821809e47a" title="TK II 2017-2018, 34851, no. 3 pp. 27 and 28">2</a> and the explanatory memorandum to the UAVG, <a class="noteref" href="#_f4673784-3fab-40d8-aba4-6ec8123f03fd" title="TK II 2017–2018, 34 851, no. 7 p. 26">3</a> state that Article 78 of the GDPR is a term as referred to in Article 4:13, first paragraph, of the Awb. The fact that no clear end date for the decision is mentioned in Article 78 of the GDPR does not change this. The reason why no end date can be set for the handling of a complaint such as this one is that the investigation into such a complaint can be very time-consuming. It can lead to large-scale and complex investigations. In addition, if a complaint concerns cross-border processing of data, the respondent must coordinate his actions with the supervisory authorities from other countries that are involved in this data processing. Before a decision can be taken, a draft of that decision must first be submitted to all supervisory authorities involved. The supervisors must reach an agreement and, if that is not successful, can still refer a dispute to the European Data Protection Board. In such cases, the respondent has little or no influence on the duration of the handling of the complaint. This means that an end date for the handling of the complaint cannot be given and that this is not intended by the legislator.<span class="linebreak1"> </span></p><p>7. Where the respondent is bound by virtue of Article 78 of the GDPR, it is that he sends a notification of the progress to the plaintiff within a period of three months or settles the complaint within that period. The recitals of the GDPR, which explain the articles of the law, also state under 141 that the defendant must notify the claimant within a reasonable period of time of the progress and outcome of the complaint.<br /> In the opinion of the court, what a reasonable term is depends on the concrete situation. Furthermore, recital 141 states that if the case requires further investigation or coordination with another supervisory authority, interim information should be provided to the data subject.<span class="linebreak1"> </span></p><p>8. In summary, the defendant is therefore obliged to:<br /> - to either send the claimant a report of the progress or to deal with his complaint in full within three months.<br /> If the complaint is not completed within three months, the respondent must:<br /> - deal with the complaint within a reasonable period of time;<br /> - and in the meantime, keep the claimant informed of progress within a reasonable time and whether an investigation or coordination with another supervisory authority is required.<br /> The court will discuss below whether the defendant has met these requirements in this case.<br /> <span class="emphasis" style="font-style:italic;">Has the defendant informed the plaintiff about the progress within three months or has the complaint fully dealt with?</span></p><p> 9. It is a fact that the defendant did not deal with the complaint within three months, so in this case it must be assessed whether the defendant notified the claimant of the progress within three months. Respondent states that this has been complied with and refers to the e-mail of 20 March 2019, which in his view is a progress message. Plaintiff is of the opinion that this e-mail cannot be regarded as a progress message as referred to in Article 78, second paragraph, of the GDPR, because according to him, this message only requests additional documents.<span class="linebreak1"> </span></p><p>10. The court does not follow the plaintiff in his position. In doing so, the court first of all establishes that a progress report as referred to in Article 78, second paragraph, of the GDPR is free of form. There are no requirements in the GDPR that such a message must meet. Although the e-mail message of 20 March 2019, unlike, for example, the letters of 5 September and 10 December 2019, does not explicitly state that it concerns a progress message, but that does not alter the fact that the plaintiff is actually aware of this e-mail message. posed of progress. In the e-mail message the plaintiff was informed that the defendant will investigate what he can do to deal with the complaint, so that it is clear that the complaint has actually been dealt with. The message also states that the complaint concerns the international processing of personal data and that this affects the handling of the complaint. It also states that the plaintiff's complaint may be handled in collaboration with other European supervisory authorities, which may take some time to process. In the court's opinion, the defendant informed the claimant of the progress with this e-mail within three months of the submission of the complaint in accordance with Article 78, second paragraph, of the GDPR and recital 141 of the GDPR.<br /> <span class="emphasis" style="font-style:italic;">Has the defendant observed the reasonable period in handling the plaintiff's complaint?</span></p><p> 11. With the submission of the legal documents, the defendant has attached documents relating to the investigation he is conducting in response to the plaintiff's complaint. He has requested the court for limited access to these documents. By decision of April 22, 2020, the court ruled that there are compelling reasons not to notify the plaintiff of those documents. The plaintiff has subsequently given the court permission as referred to in Article 8:29, fifth paragraph, of the Awb to include the documents whose confidentiality is permitted in the assessment of his appeals.<span class="linebreak1"> </span></p><p>12. The respondent initially referred to these so-called 8:29 documents to substantiate its position on the duration of the investigation into the complaint. However, on September 10, 2020, he sent a progress notice to the claimant containing partly the same information, which can be shared from that moment on. During the hearing, the respondent provided further information on the duration of the investigation. From the 8:29 documents, the progress notice of September 10, 2020 and the explanation of the defendant during the hearing, the following appears.<br /> Not only has plaintiff complained to defendant about Focum, but more complaints have been received about this company. Respondent has bundled these complaints. These complaints fall within the defendant's focus area 'Data trade'. Respondent intends to pay extra attention to complaints about data trade in the coming years. That is why research is now being done on a number of trade information agencies, including Focum. Respondent has further explained that an investigation into a trade information agency, such as Focum, is a lengthy process because of the size, complexity of the processing operations and the assessment thereof. Part of the investigation is an on-site investigation at the Focum office. This investigation was announced in advance due to the Covid-19 measures, contrary to what is normally the case, and took place in the week of September 14, 2020. The on-site investigation took three days and, due to the absence of certain employees at Focum, still not completed. After the on-site investigation, the investigation data is processed. This may lead to further investigation. After that, both sides will have to be heard with Focum. If a violation is found, the respondent will then draw up a report and start an enforcement process. Respondent further explained that the investigation into Focum has an international component, whereby he is dependent on feedback from regulators from other Member States of the European Union. Finally, the respondent stated that, due to the nationwide lockdown as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the on-site investigation was carried out later than would otherwise have been the case.<span class="linebreak1"> </span></p><p>13. The court finds that the respondent has sufficiently explained with this explanation why the plaintiff's complaint has not yet been decided at the time of the plaintiff's notice of default, but even now. This is an extensive investigation, which not only concerns the plaintiff's complaint, but also complaints from other people. Respondent has sufficiently explained that the settlement of the plaintiff's complaint requires a response to legally complex questions that transcend national borders and, quite apart from delay due to measures in connection with the Covid-19 measures, is a long process. This leads the court to conclude that the reasonable period referred to in recital 141 of the GDPR to decide on the plaintiff's complaint has not yet been exceeded.<span class="linebreak1"> </span></p><p>14. The plaintiff stated during the hearing that he did not want his complaint to be included in a large-scale investigation. According to him, this is only a simple complaint, which the defendant could and should have settled independently of the large-scale investigation. According to the plaintiff, the defendant only had to consider his right of access. By failing to do so, the reasonable term has been exceeded, according to plaintiff.<span class="linebreak1"> </span></p><p>15. Plaintiff is not right in this. The wording of the plaintiff's complaint of January 21, 2019 shows that the plaintiff's primary position is that his personal data are being processed unlawfully by Focum and that he wants to exercise his right to be forgotten, without sending a copy of his passport. The defendant has interpreted this as meaning that the plaintiff complains about the unjustified data processing as well as the exercise of his right of access, but that does not follow from the complaint itself. The claimant is concerned that Focum is unlawfully processing his personal data and that this must stop. Respondent has rightly pointed out that it is precisely this large-scale investigation that serves to establish whether Focum's data processing is unlawful and that the plaintiff's complaint cannot therefore be separated from this investigation.<br /> <span class="emphasis" style="font-style:italic;">Has the defendant kept the plaintiff sufficiently informed of the progress?</span></p><p> 16. After the aforementioned e-mail message of 20 March 2019, the respondent informed the claimant on 14 May 2019 that his complaint will be handled by a different department than before. He regards this communication as a progress message. On September 5, 2019 and on December 10, 2019, the respondent sent the plaintiff letters explicitly stating that it concerns a progress report. The letters of September 5 and December 10, 2019 are the same in content. The respondent has explained in these letters that questions were put to Focum on 15 May 2019 and that these questions were answered on 19 June 2019. Respondent further states that he needs more time to reach a decision because he is in the process of assessing Focum's questions and is conducting further investigations in response to these answers. After the plaintiff failed to submit his appeal in time, the defendant sent three more progress notices, namely on 9 March 2020 and on 1 September and 10 September 2020. In the notice of 10 September 2020, the defendant provided more information about the scope of the investigation into Focum and the steps taken so far.<span class="linebreak1"> </span></p><p>17. There is no obligation for the defendant to send a progress report every three months from the GDPR. The respondent must, however, regularly (within a reasonable period as referred to in recital 141 of the GDPR) inform the claimant of the progress. The court is of the opinion that the defendant has done the same here. Incidentally, the court does not consider that the notice of 14 May 2019, in which the plaintiff was informed that the file would be dealt with by another department, can be regarded as a progress report. This letter does not show that the transfer to another department means a scaling up of the handling of the plaintiff's complaint, as the respondent has explained. However, the subsequent messages of September 5, 2019 and December 10, 2019 can be regarded as progress messages. Respondent explained during the hearing that he could not disclose more details about the investigation because, if more information became known about the investigation and Focum became aware of it, Focum could anticipate that investigation. The defendant wanted to avoid this investigation risk and the court finds this justified. In the progress reports of September 5, 2019 and December 10, 2019, the respondent did report what had actually been done so far to deal with the plaintiff's complaint and also stated that the plaintiff's complaint was still being dealt with. worked. This is sufficiently specific in this situation. The fact that these messages, like the message of 9 March 2020, are otherwise the same in terms of content and that they no longer mention anything about foreign research, does not alter this. Respondent has made it sufficiently clear that he could no longer disclose about the investigation, but that he did want to make it clear that work was being done behind the scenes on the settlement of the plaintiff's complaint.<br /> The court is of the opinion that at the time when the plaintiff declared the defendant in default on 20 January 2020, there was no further question of a situation in which the plaintiff was ignorant of the progress. After all, the last progress report dated December 10, 2019, which means that the frequency of reporting is also in order.<br /> <span class="emphasis" style="font-style:italic;">What does this mean for the plaintiff's appeals?</span></p><p> 18. From what has been considered above, it follows that the defendant has complied with his obligation as referred to in Article 78, second paragraph, of the GDPR because he has informed the claimant of the progress of the handling of his complaint within three months. It was mentioned that the complaint may be handled in collaboration with other European supervisory authorities. The respondent also informed the plaintiff in the meantime sufficiently within a reasonable period of time and the reasonable period to take a decision on the complaint has not been exceeded at this time. This means that the notice of default of 20 January 2020 was submitted prematurely - that is, too early. If a notice of default has been lodged prematurely, the subsequent appeal against the late decision is inadmissible. That is the case here.<br /> Because the defendant is not yet too late with a decision on the plaintiff's complaint, no penalty payments have been forfeited and the defendant is therefore not owed any penalty payments to the plaintiff. The appeal against the decision of 16 July 2020 is therefore unfounded.<br /> <span class="emphasis" style="font-style:italic;">Is the claimant entitled to reimbursement of his legal costs?</span></p><p> 19. In the event of an inadmissible and unfounded appeal, it is not likely that the plaintiff will be reimbursed for his legal costs. After all, he has not been proved right by the court. In this case, however, the court has investigated whether there is reason to reimburse the plaintiff's legal costs. This could be the case if the frequency and content of the progress messages left something to be desired. After all, although the GDPR does not offer a firm decision period, the option of lodging an appeal against a timely decision offers a legal option to have the court assess whether the defendant meets the requirements referred to in Article 78, second paragraph, of the GDPR and whether he is acting in accordance with recital 141 of the GDPR. Until the complaint has been dealt with, the plaintiff can always not submit such an appeal on time. The plaintiff himself cannot assess whether the complaint will be handled with due observance of the regulations and can only have this reviewed by the judge. This is partly because the latter can assess the content of the progress messages in the light of, among other things, the content of the secret documents. As has been considered above, the court finds the progress messages sufficient in terms of content and frequency. Therefore, the defendant does not have to reimburse the plaintiff's legal costs.<span class="linebreak1"> </span><span class="linebreak2"> </span></p></div><div class="section beslissing"><h2>Decision</h2><span class="linebreak1"> </span><div class="parablock"><p>The court declares:<br /> - the appeal is overdue inadmissible;<br /> - declares the appeal against the decision of 16 July 2020 unfounded.<span class="linebreak1"> </span></p></div><span class="linebreak4"> </span><div class="parablock"><p>This statement was made by mr. VE van der Does, chairman, and mr. MP Glerum and<br /> mr. M. Eversteijn, members, in the presence of mr. MEC Bakker, registrar. The decision was issued in public on October 15, 2020.</p></div><span class="linebreak3"> </span><table cellspacing="0" cellpadding="2" class="frame_all pgwide_0 "><colgroup span="2"><col width="1*" /><col width="1*" /></colgroup><tbody class="top x bottom"><tr class=" first last"><td class="0 first align_left valign_top"><p>The registrar is unable to sign this decision.</p></td><td class="0 last align_left valign_top"><p> The chairman was prevented from signing this decision.</p></td></tr></tbody></table><div class="parablock"><p> Registrar Chairman</p></div><span class="linebreak2"> </span><div class="parablock"><p>Copy sent to parties on:</p></div><span class="linebreak2"> </span></div><div class="section"><h2>Remedy</h2><div class="parablock"><p> An appeal can be lodged against this decision with the Administrative Jurisdiction Division of the Council of State within six weeks of the date on which it was sent.</p><p> APPENDIX</p></div><span class="linebreak1"> </span><div class="parablock"><p><span class="emphasis" style="font-style:italic;">General Administrative Law Act</span><br /> Article 4:13 of the Awb</p></div><p> 1. A decision must be made within the period specified by law or, in the absence of such a period, within a reasonable period of time after receipt of the application.</p><p> 2.The reasonable period referred to in the first paragraph has in any case expired if the administrative authority has not made a decision or made a notification as referred to in Article 4:14, third paragraph, within eight weeks of receipt of the application.<span class="linebreak1"> </span></p><div class="parablock"><p>Section 4:14</p></div><p> 1. If a decision cannot be made within the term determined by statutory regulation, the administrative authority shall inform the applicant of this, stating the shortest possible term within which the decision can be expected.</p><p> 2.Paragraph 1 does not apply if the administrative authority is no longer competent after the expiry of the period determined by statutory regulation.</p><p> 3 If, in the absence of a statutory period, a decision cannot be made within eight weeks, the administrative authority shall inform the applicant of this within this period and specify a reasonable period within which the decision can be met. seen.</p><p><br /> Section 4:17</p><p> 1. If a decision on application is not made on time, the administrative authority will forfeit a penalty to the applicant for each day that it is in default, but for a maximum of 42 days. The General Time Limits Act does not apply to the latter term.<span class="linebreak2"> </span></p><div class="parablock"><p>Section 8:29</p></div><p> 1. Parties that are obliged to provide information or to submit documents may, if there are compelling reasons for doing so, refuse to provide information or to submit documents or notify the administrative judge that only he or she may inspect the information or. the pieces.<br /> […]</p><p> 3.The administrative court decides whether the refusal or the limitation of the inspection referred to in the first paragraph is justified.</p><p> 4 If the administrative judge has decided that the refusal is justified, the obligation lapses.</p><p> 5.If the administrative judge has decided that the limitation of the inspection is justified, it can only give judgment with the consent of the other parties, partly on the basis of that information or those documents. If consent is refused, the case is transferred to another chamber.</p></div><div class="section overwegingen"><h2><br /> General Data Protection Regulations<br /> Considerations</h2><p> (141) Any data subject should have the right to lodge a complaint with a single supervisory authority, in particular in the Member State of habitual residence, and an effective remedy before a legal remedy 4.5.2016 L 119/25 Official Journal of the European Union NL in accordance with Article 47 of the Charter if it believes that its rights under this Regulation have been infringed or if the supervisory authority does not act on a complaint, rejects or rejects a complaint in whole or in part, or if it does not act when such action is necessary to protect the rights of the data subject. Investigations conducted in response to a complaint do not go beyond what is appropriate in the specific case and may be subject to judicial review. The supervisory authority must inform the data subject of the progress and outcome of the complaint within a reasonable period of time. If the case requires further investigation or coordination with another supervisory authority, interim information should be provided to the data subject. Each supervisory authority should take measures to facilitate the submission of complaints, such as the provision of a complaint form that can also be completed electronically, without excluding other means of communication.<span class="linebreak1"> </span></p><div class="parablock"><p>Article 77<br /> Without prejudice to any other administrative or judicial remedy, any data subject shall have the right to lodge a complaint with a supervisory authority, in particular in the Member State where he habitually resides, has his place of work or where the alleged infringement was committed , if he considers that the processing of personal data concerning him constitutes an infringement of this Regulation.<br /> The supervisory authority to which the complaint has been lodged shall inform the complainant of the progress and outcome of the complaint, as well as of the possible remedy in accordance with Article 78.</p></div><span class="linebreak1"> </span><div class="parablock"><p>Article 78<br /> 1. Without prejudice to any other administrative or out-of-court appeal, any natural or legal person shall have the right to an effective judicial remedy against a legally binding decision of a supervisory authority concerning him.<br /> Without prejudice to any other administrative or out-of-court appeal, any data subject shall have the right to an effective judicial remedy if the supervisory authority competent in accordance with Articles 55 and 56 does not deal with a complaint or notifies the data subject within three months of: the progress or outcome of the complaint submitted under Article 77 <span class="emphasis" style="border-bottom:1px solid black;">.</span><br /> 3. Proceedings against a supervisory authority shall be brought in the courts of the Member State where the supervisory authority is located.<br /> […].</p></div><span class="linebreak1"> </span></div><div class="footnotes"><p><span class="footnote" id="ID0EWFAC"><span class="note"><a name="_9a1c8d07-f517-4e65-983f-4eae3079e4de">1</a></span> <span>TK II 2017-2018, 34851, no. 3 p. 27</span></span></p><p> <span class="footnote" id="ID0E4FAC"><span class="note"><a name="_d8343a4c-02b1-4100-8c65-24821809e47a">2</a></span> <span>TK II 2017-2018, 34851, no. 3 p. 27 and 28</span></span></p><p> <span class="footnote" id="ID0EEGAC"><span class="note"><a name="_f4673784-3fab-40d8-aba4-6ec8123f03fd">3</a></span> <span>TK II 2017–2018, 34 851, no. 7 p. 26</span></span></p></div></div></div></div></div></div></div><div class="row no-print"><div id="contentZoneTop" class="col-md-12 no-print"></div></div></div><!--/.row --></div><!--/.container --><!--/.rnl-content --><div class="rnl-content 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