Public interest beats GDPR

Wikipedia scale of justice By Olmec

On Saturday Parltrack received a request by an ex-assistant of an MEP to delete their name from our data. The name of this person we do not disclose because we respect their privacy in regards of this request which has no public interest value, however their position as an assistant to an MEP is in the public interest and thus we send this answer rejecting their request:

Dear [name withheld for privacy reasons],

If we understand your mail correctly, it is a request for deletion as meant by article 17, GDPR and/or an objection as meant in article 21 GDPR.

Since Parltrack does neither use your consent as a legal basis for processing, nor are you a minor, we do not think the provisions of art. 17(1) under b and f are applicable. Neither do we think the provisions of art. 17(1) under d and e are applicable.

Which leaves us the criteria under a and c.

Regarding a: the purpose of Parltrack is to provide an easily searchable set or records of the acts of the European Parliament. This in the interest of transparency of the legislative process at the European level, to allow journalism as well as academic research into these processes.

The historical record of the involvement of MEPs as well as their assistants (of which you used to be one) falls within the scope of that purpose. So, this data is still needed for this purpose.

As far as the criterion under article 17(1) sub c may be concerned: you have not provided us any specific reason as to how your interest in not having this data processed outweighs the above mentioned public interest in doing so.

Moreover, since Parltrack is mainly operated from the Netherlands, the Dutch implementing act of the GDPR applies, the Uitvoeringswet Algemene Verordening Gegevensbescherming (UAVG).

This act contains a provision in article 43(2) UAVG that provides a blanket exception from Chapter III GDPR (in which articles 17 and 21 GDPR both reside) for processing for purposes of journalism and academic research. This is a derogation in national law as meant in article 89(2) GDPR.

So our position is, that insofar as Chapter III GDPR is applicable to begin with, we have grounds to refuse your request. We however think Chapter III GDPR is not applicable to begin with and we therefore refuse your request as well.

In case you wish to challenge the above analysis, we respectfully point you to your rights to complain under the GDPR. You can decide to complain with your national DPA, the CNIL, or with the Dutch DPA, the Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens. The latter's contact details are:

Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens

Postbus 93374


The Netherlands

"The information who was an assistant to which MEP is very much in the public interest especially in the light of the past and current criminal investigations on EU public money embezzlement in France affecting Macron governments coalition partner Modem party ex-ministers and members of the Le Pen family." comments Markus Wolfe - Deputy Officer for Public Interest topics.