The Expanding Scope of the Data Protection Directive: The Exception for a 'Purely Personal or Household Activity'

9 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2015 Last revised: 16 Sep 2015

See all articles by Oliver Butler

Oliver Butler

University of Cambridge, Faculty of Law, Students

Date Written: September 15, 2015

Abstract

This case note comments on the judgement of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in C-212/13 Ryneš v Úrad pro ochranu osobních údaju. It argues that the CJEU has imposed a spatial gloss on the interpretation of the exception for data processing “in the course of a purely personal or household activity”: Article 3(2) of the Data Protection Directive 1995. It criticises that spatial gloss as both too broad and too narrow. Too broad because the logic of the decision potentially captures many other forms of video-based recording and too narrow because it appears to exclude data protection from CCTV in the purely private setting, ignoring circumstances where individuals from outside the household might legitimately enter and be subject to intrusive monitoring. It examines the consequences of that gloss for UK data protection law and guidance issued by the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). This note argues that the implications of the reasoning in Ryneš could extend beyond these narrower changes and represent part of wider expansion of data protection through the interpretation of the CJEU, which has pursued a course of broad interpretation for provisions of the Directive and narrow interpretations of its exceptions. The note questions the desirability of this extension.

Keywords: Data protection, personal or household activities, CCTV

JEL Classification: K10, K23

Suggested Citation

Butler, Oliver, The Expanding Scope of the Data Protection Directive: The Exception for a 'Purely Personal or Household Activity' (September 15, 2015). University of Cambridge Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 54/2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2660916 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2660916

Oliver Butler (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge, Faculty of Law, Students ( email )

Cambridge
United Kingdom

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