Rb. Zeeland-West-Brabant - AWB- 20 5411
|Rb. Zeeland-West-Brabant - AWB- 20_5411|
|Court:||Rb. Zeeland-West-Brabant (Netherlands)|
|Relevant Law:||Article 6 GDPR|
Article 17 GDPR
Article 82 GDPR
Wet openbaarheid van bestuur (Wob)
|Parties:||Anonymous, The Executive of the Municipality of Etten-Leur ('het college van burgemeester en wethouders van de gemeente Etten-Leur')|
|National Case Number/Name:||AWB- 20_5411|
|European Case Law Identifier:||ECLI:NL:RBZWB:2021:2046|
|Appeal to:||Not appealed|
|Original Source:||de Rechtspraak (in Dutch)|
The Zeeland West Brabant Court of First Instance held that a municipality was not obliged to compensate a data subject, since it had legally processed their personal data under Article 6(1)(e), and there was thus no GDPR infringement. The Court stated that it is the task of municipalities to implement the Dutch Government Information (Public Access) Act ('Wob'), and in this case, the processing of personal data was necessary to ensure the Wob's proper functioning.
English Summary[edit | edit source]
Facts[edit | edit source]
On the 17th July 2019, the claimant submitted a request to the defendant, the Board of the Municipality of Etten-Leur ('the Board'), demanding:
- the erasure of his personal data, pursuant to Article 17 GDPR, which the Board had published on the Association of Dutch Municipalities ('VNG') forum - an online forum accessible to employees at other municipalities in the Netherlands. The claimant had learned that his personal data was published on the VNG forum via an access request submitted to the the Board.
- damages on account of the fact that the Board had published his personal data on the forum, in accordance with Article 82 GDPR. The claimant considered €2,500 an appropriate amount.
According to the claimant, the publication of his personal data on the VNG violated the principle of proportionality. Further, the claimant argued that the Board should not have shared his personal data in this way without his permission, and that it had no legal basis for such processing under Article 6 GDPR.
The Board rejected the claimant's request for erasure. In particular, it argued that the claimant's request for erasure was fundamentally unfounded, as the publication of personal data on the VNG forum was not unlawful. It was therefore not obliged to erase the personal data in line with Article 17(d), nor was it obliged to provide the claimant damages. The claimant contested this decision.
Holding[edit | edit source]
The Court declared the claimant's request for erasure unfounded, and rejected the request for damages. In particular, it referred to a decision by the Administrative Law Division of the Council of State ('AbRS') of 1 April 2020. This decision highlighted that a municipal Board can be requested to disclose private information about an administrative matter falling under the Dutch Government Information (Public Access) Act ('Wob'), since the implementation of the Wob is a public law task of a municipal Board, and for the proper functioning of the Wob it is important that investigations are carried out into any abuse of the Wob. The VNG forum enables municipalities to consult with each other regarding how to deal with requests under the Wob, in particular regarding those requests which aim to collect penalty payments from municipalities.
The Court therefore found that, in accordance with Article 8(e) Wob and Article 6(1)(e) GDPR, the purpose of the mentioning of the name of the claimant on the VNG forum at the request of another municipality was to ensure the proper implementation of the Wob and prevent the Wob from being misused to collect penalty payments.
Further, there was no ground for the claimant to argue that the principle of proportionality was breached, since the purpose of the processing was proportionate to the infringement of privacy and could not be achieved by less intrusive means. The publication of the Claimant's name was the only way to ascertain whether he had submitted Wob requests to several municipalities that might be aimed at collecting a penalty payment. Further, only those who have a specific function regarding the processing of Wob requests are allowed access to the Wob/ municipalities section of the VNG forum.
Because the Board did not act unlawfully by mentioning the name of the claimant, the request for compensation was dismissed for that reason alone.
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English Machine Translation of the Decision[edit | edit source]
The decision below is a machine translation of the Dutch original. Please refer to the Dutch original for more details.