By Kristof Van Quathem and Anna Sophia Oberschelp de Meneses
The European Court of Human Rights (“ECHR”) decided on 28 June 2018 that the right to request the erasure of personal data on prior convictions, may be trumped by the right to freedom of expression and information. The court confirmed prior case law deciding that the public’s legitimate right of access to electronic press archives is protected by the fundamental right of freedom of expression and information and that limitations to this right must be justified by particularly compelling reasons.
Facts of the case
The case concerns two German nationals (ML and WW) who were sentenced to life imprisonment back in 1993 for murdering a popular actor. ML and WW disputed their conviction and filed several unsuccessful applications for a revision of the procedure and reached out to the press for support.
After being released on probation in 2007 and 2008 respectively, ML and WW initiated three proceedings against different media outlets asking that their names (and individualizing information) be erased from articles published between 1992 and 2000. ML and WW argued that due to passage of time, their right to privacy outweighed the interest of the public to be informed about the proceedings. ML and WW also claimed that the articles jeopardized their social reintegration.
Continue Reading Post GDPR: ECHR Ruling Confirms the Prevalence of Freedom of Expression and Information Over the Right of Erasure