EU Court Clarifies Boundaries of Journalism and Household Exceptions in Data Protection Law

The Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) has delivered a decision on data protection issues regarding a Latvian individual who published a video he filmed on YouTube, which shows police officers going about their duties in a police station. The Latvian privacy regulator found that he had infringed data protection laws for failing to inform the police officers of the intended purpose of the processing of their personal data. 

The individual appealed, arguing that he wanted to draw public attention to a matter he believes is unlawful conduct. 
On the threshold matter, the CJEU found that the publication of the video gives an indefinite number of people access to the personal data of the officers. Therefore, it does not fall within the context of purely personal or household activities, which would otherwise exempt it from data protection rules.

The CJEU also held that this form of data processing may constitute an activity done solely for journalistic purposes, which can benefit from broad exemptions from data protection rules. This would be the case in so far as it is apparent from that video that the sole object of that recording and publication is the disclosure of information, opinions or ideas to the public. The CJEU also ruled that this exemption can apply not only to traditional media outlets but also to every person engaged in a journalistic activity, even if they are not a professional journalist and the medium used is not a classic journalistic medium.

CLICK HERE to read the decision of the CJEU.