Romania: Moral damages for publishing personal data online
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Deutsch: Rumänien: Schadensersatz aufgrund des Online-Veröffentlichens persö...
A Romanian local court has decided to award 10 000 Euro as moral damages to a private person, after his full details were published on the website of the City Hall, including his HIV-related problems.
In June 2008, Bucharest District 1 City Hall published on its website some decisions of the Local Council on the beneficiaries of free public transport by subway for persons with severe handicap. The decisions were published together with the annexes that contain all the personal data of the respective persons (name and surname, address, ID card number, Unique Personal Code Number and description of its respective disability).
The citizen who was on that list and initiated the action claimed moral damages, considering that the data should not have been made public, but just sent to the subway administration. He also claimed that he and his parents suffered several moral prejudices after this event by the deterioration of his relations with friends and neighbours. He actually was forced to move from that respective location due to this disclosure.
The City Hall argued that they did not intend to discriminate anyone and the publication of the Annexes was "a technical mistake".
The Bucharest District 1 Local Court of considered that the conditions required by the Romanian law on tort had been met , and the City Hall had breached the complainant's right to privacy as expressed in Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights, law 677/2001 (Romanian transposition of the data protection directive) and other specific legislation in the medical field that oblige the public servants to keep the confidentiality on patients with HIV positive or having AIDS. Therefore the Court has awarded damages of 10 000 Euro to the complainant.
The court's decision was appealed by the City Hall to the Bucharest Tribunal that rejected the appeal in February 2010. Thus, the initial decision of the Bucharest District 1 Local Court remains definitive and applicable.
It is probably the first case publicly known in Romania when a person receives moral damages from a national court on grounds of privacy breach, after a series of cases at the European Court of Human Rights where Romania was condemned for breaching Article 8. The decision of the court is also surprising in regards with the amount awarded, the Romanian courts being generally very defensive in awarding any moral damages.
Romania: record damages for publishing personal data on a website - contains
also the full court decision (only in Romanian, 18.02.2010)
ECHR case: Rotaru vs. Romania (4.05.2000)