Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union’s FOI lawsuits Ádám Földes HCLU.

Similar presentations


Presentation on theme: "The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union’s FOI lawsuits Ádám Földes HCLU."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union’s FOI lawsuits Ádám Földes HCLU

2 Legal background Protection of Personal Data and the Freedom of Information Act Protection of Personal Data and the Freedom of Information Act The Constitution of Hungary The Constitution of Hungary Parliamentary Commissioner of Data Protection and Freedom of Information („Ombudsman of Data Protection”) Parliamentary Commissioner of Data Protection and Freedom of Information („Ombudsman of Data Protection”) Electronic Freedom of Information Act Electronic Freedom of Information Act

3 Data Protection and FOI Act: One integrated Act on Data Protection and on FOI since 1992 One integrated Act on Data Protection and on FOI since 1992 Regulates both sides of Informational Rights Regulates both sides of Informational Rights Broad definition of Public Interest Information: everything, which is related to some public-funded activity or some public-funded institution is Public Data, except the information which is personal data Broad definition of Public Interest Information: everything, which is related to some public-funded activity or some public-funded institution is Public Data, except the information which is personal data

4 Constitution „Anybody has a right to get and desemimate Public Data” „Anybody has a right to get and desemimate Public Data” The Constitutional Court’s practice defines the FOI issue as the backbone of an open society The Constitutional Court’s practice defines the FOI issue as the backbone of an open society FOI can be narrowed only because of the protection of another basic constitutional right FOI can be narrowed only because of the protection of another basic constitutional right

5 Ombudsman For Data Protection and FOI issues For Data Protection and FOI issues One General Ombudsman, one Deputy Ombudsman, one for the rights of ethnic minorities, one for DP and FOI. One General Ombudsman, one Deputy Ombudsman, one for the rights of ethnic minorities, one for DP and FOI. 2 equally important rights, but! 90 % of complaints are related to data protection, and only 10 % related to FOI 2 equally important rights, but! 90 % of complaints are related to data protection, and only 10 % related to FOI

6 HCLU’s Strategic Litigation Activity HCLU: founded in 1994 HCLU: founded in 1994 Focuses on the following issues: drug policy, HIV/AIDS, data protection and FOI, freedom of assembly, speech, opinion, NGOs in the legislation Focuses on the following issues: drug policy, HIV/AIDS, data protection and FOI, freedom of assembly, speech, opinion, NGOs in the legislation Uses SL as a tool in the issues above Uses SL as a tool in the issues above

7 Electronic FOI Law Existing since the summer of 2005, the law will come into effect from the 1st of January 2006 and some parts, 1st of January 2007. Existing since the summer of 2005, the law will come into effect from the 1st of January 2006 and some parts, 1st of January 2007. Public institutions must publish their documents and relevant Public Data on the Internet Public institutions must publish their documents and relevant Public Data on the Internet Decisions of higher courts on the Internet Decisions of higher courts on the Internet Bills and propositions on the Internet Bills and propositions on the Internet Biggest weakness: no motivation, no sanctions in the law Biggest weakness: no motivation, no sanctions in the law

8 FOI lawsuits Before a lawsuit, we always issue a FOI request, based on the DP and FOI Act. The law gives 8 days for the negative, and 15 days for the positive answer from the approached authority Before a lawsuit, we always issue a FOI request, based on the DP and FOI Act. The law gives 8 days for the negative, and 15 days for the positive answer from the approached authority

9 Requests: we test the email and regular mail ways of the request. Requests: we test the email and regular mail ways of the request. We select possible respondents for our SL activity: in 2005, we issued lawsuits against the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Justice, local governments, police authorities, specific state- funded institutions (e.g. The National Nuclear Safety Authority) We select possible respondents for our SL activity: in 2005, we issued lawsuits against the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Justice, local governments, police authorities, specific state- funded institutions (e.g. The National Nuclear Safety Authority) The lawsuits usually related to our focus areas – Multiple Box Case Management The lawsuits usually related to our focus areas – Multiple Box Case Management But we also help and represent other NGOs in FOI lawsuits for free. But we also help and represent other NGOs in FOI lawsuits for free.

10 We also test FOI cases countrywide: we issue the same lawsuits against different local governments or police authorities, to test the court system and to see the differences in the application of the law at the various courts. We also test FOI cases countrywide: we issue the same lawsuits against different local governments or police authorities, to test the court system and to see the differences in the application of the law at the various courts.

11 Lawsuits related to HCLU’s Street Surveillance Cameras Project FOI requests (based on the FOI Act) to local governments and police authorities from February 2005 FOI requests (based on the FOI Act) to local governments and police authorities from February 2005 Questions: number of CC cameras, possible studies, costs, operational details Questions: number of CC cameras, possible studies, costs, operational details Few answers, most of the approached institutions responded negatively, less than 10 % gave out the requested information Few answers, most of the approached institutions responded negatively, less than 10 % gave out the requested information

12 HCLU selected 3 local governments, and one police institution (the Budapest Police Headquarters), and filed FOI lawsuits aginst them. We selected different towns in the countryside and one Capital district. HCLU selected 3 local governments, and one police institution (the Budapest Police Headquarters), and filed FOI lawsuits aginst them. We selected different towns in the countryside and one Capital district. We started the cases with exactly the same statement of claims and with the same causa. We used the same legal reasoning. We started the cases with exactly the same statement of claims and with the same causa. We used the same legal reasoning.

13 Same claims - different court decisions Despite the fact that all 4 cases were similar, and our petitions were also similar, the courts’ decisions were different. Despite the fact that all 4 cases were similar, and our petitions were also similar, the courts’ decisions were different. FOI lawsuits must be fast tracked– but in one case, we were waiting 9 weeks for the first hearing. FOI lawsuits must be fast tracked– but in one case, we were waiting 9 weeks for the first hearing.

14 Finally we won 3 cases from the 4. These 3 courts decided that our requests were well-grounded. Finally we won 3 cases from the 4. These 3 courts decided that our requests were well-grounded. The 4th court decided differently, the judge’s opinion was the following: there is no need for a trial, because our request is not an FOI request –HCLU appealed The 4th court decided differently, the judge’s opinion was the following: there is no need for a trial, because our request is not an FOI request –HCLU appealed Question of enforcement: one local government still did not provide the data – despite the lost case, so we are waiting for the bailiff’s procedure. Question of enforcement: one local government still did not provide the data – despite the lost case, so we are waiting for the bailiff’s procedure.

15 The issue of deadlines Fast tracked proceedings in theory, several months waiting in practice Fast tracked proceedings in theory, several months waiting in practice CC-case vs. ANS-case: 2 different cases, one court, same reasoning and causa, same legal regulation, the action in laws arrived at the same time to the court. The 1st case’s 1st hearing was scheduled in one month, the 2nd case’s 1st hearing was scheduled 7 months later (The law says 6 months in normal cases!) CC-case vs. ANS-case: 2 different cases, one court, same reasoning and causa, same legal regulation, the action in laws arrived at the same time to the court. The 1st case’s 1st hearing was scheduled in one month, the 2nd case’s 1st hearing was scheduled 7 months later (The law says 6 months in normal cases!)

16 The CC-case Probably the most important FOI lawsuit in the past year: HCLU sued the Hungarian Constitutional Court Probably the most important FOI lawsuit in the past year: HCLU sued the Hungarian Constitutional Court CC would not provide a petition that an MP had made, the denial’s justification was this: „we usually don’t do this” (!) CC would not provide a petition that an MP had made, the denial’s justification was this: „we usually don’t do this” (!) We lost the case at the first level: the petition of an MP, which aims to change the Criminal Code is „not data”. We lost the case at the first level: the petition of an MP, which aims to change the Criminal Code is „not data”. We lost it on the 2nd level: an MP’s petition is data, but because of the „style of his argumentation” it is his personal data. We lost it on the 2nd level: an MP’s petition is data, but because of the „style of his argumentation” it is his personal data. We took the case to Strassbourg, and are currently waiting to see if the Court accepts the case or not. We took the case to Strassbourg, and are currently waiting to see if the Court accepts the case or not.

17 None the less we lost the case, the CC lawsuit was a good example of SL: during the trial period, the Parliament changed the DP and FOI Act. Thanks to our case, the new version of the law includes None the less we lost the case, the CC lawsuit was a good example of SL: during the trial period, the Parliament changed the DP and FOI Act. Thanks to our case, the new version of the law includes 1. better definition of public data 2. Regulation on the ‘public actor – personal data’ question.

18 Thank you!


Download ppt "The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union’s FOI lawsuits Ádám Földes HCLU."

Similar presentations


Ads by Google