Data protection case law Court of Justice

Definitions - Personal Data

1 pending referral

Referral C-579/21 (Pankki S, 22 Sep 2021)


13 preliminary rulings

Judgment of 14 Feb 2019, C-345/17 (Buivids)

Article 3 of Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data must be interpreted as meaning that the recording of a video of police officers in a police station, while a statement is being made, and the publication of that video on a video website, on which users can send, watch and share videos, are matters which come within the scope of that directive.

Judgment of 20 Dec 2017, C-434/16 (Peter Nowak v Data Protection Commissioner)

Article 2(a) of Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data must be interpreted as meaning that, in circumstances such as those of the main proceedings, the written answers submitted by a candidate at a professional examination and any comments made by an examiner with respect to those answers constitute personal data, within the meaning of that provision.

Judgment of 4 May 2017, C-13/16 (Rīgas satiksme)

Article 7(f) of Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data must be interpreted as not imposing the obligation to disclose personal data to a third party in order to enable him to bring an action for damages before a civil court for harm caused by the person concerned by the protection of that data. However, Article 7(f) of that directive does not preclude such disclosure on the basis of national law.

Judgment of 19 Oct 2016, C-582/14 (Breyer)

Article 2(a) of Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data must be interpreted as meaning that a dynamic IP address registered by an online media services provider when a person accesses a website that the provider makes accessible to the public constitutes personal data within the meaning of that provision, in relation to that provider, where the latter has the legal means which enable it to identify the data subject with additional data which the internet service provider has about that person.

Judgment of 11 Dec 2014, C-212/13 (Ryneš)

The second indent of Article 3(2) of Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data must be interpreted as meaning that the operation of a camera system, as a result of which a video recording of people is stored on a continuous recording device such as a hard disk drive, installed by an individual on his family home for the purposes of protecting the property, health and life of the home owners, but which also monitors a public space, does not amount to the processing of data in the course of a purely personal or household activity, for the purposes of that provision.

Judgment of 17 Jul 2014, C-141/12 (YS and Others)

Article 2(a) of Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data must be interpreted as meaning that the data relating to an applicant for a residence permit contained in an administrative document, such as the ‘minute’ at issue in the main proceedings, setting out the grounds that the case officer puts forward in support of the draft decision which he is responsible for drawing up in the context of the procedure prior to the adoption of a decision concerning the application for such a permit and, where relevant, the data in the legal analysis contained in that document, are ‘personal data’ within the meaning of that provision, whereas, by contrast, that analysis cannot in itself be so classified.

Judgment of 30 May 2013, C-342/12 (Worten)

Article 2(a) of Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data is to be interpreted as meaning that a record of working time, such as that at issue in the main proceedings, which indicates, in relation to each worker, the times when working hours begin and end, as well as the corresponding breaks and intervals, is included within the concept of ‘personal data’, within the meaning of that provision.

Judgment of 16 Dec 2008, C-524/06 (Huber)

A system for processing personal data relating to Union citizens who are not nationals of the Member State concerned, such as that put in place by the Law on the central register of foreign nationals (Gesetz über das Ausländerzentralregister) of 2 September 1994, as amended by the Law of 21 June 2005, and having as its object the provision of support to the national authorities responsible for the application of the law relating to the right of residence does not satisfy the requirement of necessity laid down by Article 7(e) of Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, interpreted in the light of the prohibition on any discrimination on grounds of nationality, unless:–   it contains only the data which are necessary for the application by those authorities of that legislation, and –   its centralised nature enables the legislation relating to the right of residence to be more effectively applied as regards Union citizens who are not nationals of that Member State.It is for the national court to ascertain whether those conditions are satisfied in the main proceedings.The storage and processing of personal data containing individualised personal information in a register such as the Central Register of Foreign Nationals for statistical purposes cannot, on any basis, be considered to be necessary within the meaning of Article 7(e) of Directive 95/46.

Judgment of 16 Dec 2008, C-73/07 (Satakunnan Markkinapörssi and Satamedia)

Article 3(1) of Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data is to be interpreted as meaning that an activity in which data on the earned and unearned income and the assets of natural persons are:–   collected from documents in the public domain held by the tax authorities and processed for publication,–   published alphabetically in printed form by income bracket and municipality in the form of comprehensive lists,–   transferred onward on CD-ROM to be used for commercial purposes, and –   processed for the purposes of a text-messaging service whereby mobile telephone users can, by sending a text message containing details of an individual’s name and municipality of residence to a given number, receive in reply information concerning the earned and unearned income and assets of that person, must be considered as the ‘processing of personal data’ within the meaning of that provision.

Judgment of 29 Jan 2008, C-275/06 (Promusicae)

Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the Internal Market (‘Directive on electronic commerce’), Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society, Directive 2004/48/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the enforcement of intellectual property rights, and Directive 2002/58/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 July 2002 concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector (Directive on privacy and electronic communications) do not require the Member States to lay down, in a situation such as that in the main proceedings, an obligation to communicate personal data in order to ensure effective protection of copyright in the context of civil proceedings. However, Community law requires that, when transposing those directives, the Member States take care to rely on an interpretation of them which allows a fair balance to be struck between the various fundamental rights protected by the Community legal order. Further, when implementing the measures transposing those directives, the authorities and courts of the Member States must not only interpret their national law in a manner consistent with those directives but also make sure that they do not rely on an interpretation of them which would be in conflict with those fundamental rights or with the other general principles of Community law, such as the principle of proportionality.

Judgment of 6 Nov 2003, C-101/01 (Bodil Lindqvist)

The act of referring, on an internet page, to various persons and identifying them by name or by other means, for instance by giving their telephone number or information regarding their working conditions and hobbies, constitutes the processing of personal data wholly or partly by automatic means within the meaning of Article 3(1) of Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data.

Judgment of 20 May 2003, C-465/00 (Österreichischer Rundfunk and Others)

Articles 6(1)(c) and 7(c) and (e) of Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data do not preclude national legislation such as that at issue in the main proceedings, provided that it is shown that the wide disclosure not merely of the amounts of the annual income above a certain threshold of persons employed by the bodies subject to control by the Rechnungshof but also of the names of the recipients of that income is necessary for and appropriate to the objective of proper management of public funds pursued by the legislature, that being for the national courts to ascertain.


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