CJEU gave the Judgement in the course of a preliminary ruling on whether Articles 6(1)(c) and 7(f) of the Data Protection Directive (95/46/EC) precluded national law from allowing installation of a CCTV system in the common parts of a residential building, relying on a legitimate interest (Case C-708/18).
The overall answer is “No, it didn’t”. But what else is inside for data protection pros?
Well, CJEU re-brought to the attention of data controllers critical cornerstones of the legitimate interest as a legal basis:
– there must be present and effective legitimate interest (‘purpose test’);
– processing at issue must be strictly necessary, i.e. the purpose “cannot reasonably be as effectively achieved by other means less restrictive of the fundamental freedoms. (‘necessity test’). This is closely intertwined with the ‘data minimisation’ principle;
– a balancing test must be conducted (ref. WP29 Opinion 06/2014 on the notion of legitimate interests).
An interesting GDPR enforcement case came from Belgium in late May. Imagine that a data controller is sending unsolicited postal communications and ignoring data subject rights to object (Article 21) and to be forgotten (Article 17). On top of that, it misidentified legal basis and relied on the legitimate interest instead of consent (of course, no balancing exercises have been conducted and no safeguards have been put in place).
What could happen to such a data protection ‘nihilist’? Article 83(5) suggests that its DPO may start looking for another job. However, things may go upside down if the controller is a… non-profit organisation.
Not to keep an unnecessary suspense, the data controller in the case above was fined mere 1000 EUR (nope, I did not miss additional ‘zeros’). Of course, factoring in that it was the first case against this organisations and that the controller is a non-profit organisation with no regular turnover.
This all may be well true, but it seems that such ‘enforcement’ naturally tears the fabric of the GDPR as it factually gives all non-profit organisations carte blanche to violate ‘tastefully’ for their first time.