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CJEU: DP Directive applies to video recordings made by domestic surveillance cameras

Under the Data Protection Directive, it is not as a general rule permitted to process personal data unless the data subject has given his consent. However, the directive does not apply to the processing of data carried out by a natural person in the course of a purely personal or household activity.

Mr Ryneš and his family were subjected to a number of attacks by unknown persons, and on several occasions the windows of their house were broken. In response to those attacks, Mr Ryneš installed a surveillance camera on the family home, which filmed the entrance, public footpath and the entrance to the house opposite.

During the night of 6 to 7 October 2007, a window of the family home was broken by a shot from a catapult. The recordings made by the surveillance camera were handed over to the police and made it possible to identify two suspects, who were subsequently prosecuted before the criminal courts.

However, one of the suspects disputed before the Czech Office for the Protection of Personal Data the legality of the processing of the data recorded by Mr Ryneš’ surveillance camera. The Office found that Mr Ryneš had in fact infringed the personal data protection rules and fined him. In that connection, one of the points made by the Office was that the data on the suspect had been recorded without his consent while he was on the public footpath in front of M. Ryneš’ house.

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