Tag Archives: european court of justice

European Court Says Austrian DPA Not independent

According to hldataprotection.com, the European Court of Justice held on October 16, 2012 that Austria’s data protection authority is not sufficiently independent, and therefore fails to comply with the requirements of the European data protection directive. This is the second time that the European Court of Justice has found a data protection authority to lack independence. The first time involved Germany, where the European Court of Justice found that the regional data protection authorities were not sufficiently independent of their respective regional governments.

In its October 16 decision regarding Austria, the European Court of Justice found that the Austrian data protection authority, the DSK, had too many links to the Federal Chancellor’s office. First, the managing member of the DSK is in fact a government employee and therefore has some hierarchical links with the relevant ministry, and inevitably will be subject to the ministry’s influence. Austrian law provides that the members of the DSK shall not be subject to outside instructions. The court found, however, that as an employee of the government subject to performance reviews and promotion decisions, the managing member of the DSK will be implicitly influenced by the policies of his employer.

Second, the Federal Chancellery provides the office and staff for the DSK. Here, too, the court found that the government has an indirect influence over the DSK by virtue of the fact that the DSK staff are Chancellery employees.

Finally, the court criticized a provision in the Austrian law pursuant to which the Federal Chancellor benefits from a general right to information with regard to the DSK’s activities. The far-reaching and unconditional right to information “precludes the DSK from being capable of being regarded as operating, in all circumstances, above all suspicion of partiality.”

Read the whole story HERE.

FAQs on referral of ACTA to the European Court of Justice

edri.org compiles an interesting set of FAQs regarding the referral the European Commission has made to the European Court of Justice on ACTA.

They answer questions like:

Why did the EC decide to opt for a referral?

How can the EC refer ACTA to the CJEU?

What are the questions that will be asked?

What would the referral not cover?

What are the possible outcomes?

How long will a ruling take?

Regarding this last one, edri.org says that “In general, the European Court of Justice rules within twelve to twenty-four months. However, some European law makers are hoping for a faster ruling. Much depends on the choices made by the Court and the scope of the questions asked”.

So we can expect some real answers to ACTA questions in quite a long time. But until CJEU will decide in a way or another, enjoy reading the edri answers, HERE.