Conseil d’Etat “sanctioned” French Data Protection Authority For Not Anonymizing A Decision

The Conseil d’Etat (the French supreme administrative court) sanctioned the CNIL (Commission Nationale de l’Information et des Libertés) which is the Data Protection Agency for not anonymizing the personal data contained in a decision issued that the DPA issued, as recommended by the same CNIL in Délibération n° 01-057 du 29 novembre 2001 portant recommandation sur la diffusion de données personnelles sur internet par les banques de données de jurisprudence (deliberation n°01-0577 of November 29, 2001 (regarding the anonymization of personal data on jurisprudence databases) – read here (in French).

On April 11, 2013, the CNIL sanctioned Total Raffinage Marketing for breaching the Act of January 6, 1978 in the setting up of an electronic voting system. While Company E., which created the system, was not prosecuted, it participated in the proceeding.

The CNIL published its decision in its website. Later on the decision was also published in Legifrance. Company E. demands the CNIL to remove its name. Because CNIL refused (August 19, 2013), Company E. brought sued the CNIL before the Conseil d’Etat on ground of excès de pouvoir (exceedance of powers) asking the invalidation of the CNIL’s decision.

The Conseil d’Etat invalidated the CNIL’s decision. The court held that the CNIL must perform the anonymization because Company E. was not prosecuted and gave the CNIL fifteen days to comply.

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