Access to someone else’s data

There may be situations where you need access to someone else’s personal data. But, data users can only grant you such access in exceptional cases.

Public or private institutions, which hold a person’s private information, must ensure its confidentiality. Only in exceptional cases, which are clearly allowed by law, can data users (controllers) disclose this private information. Moreover, in all these situations the information accessed by other persons should be proportional to what is strictly necessary in the particular situation.

example A bank may allow the police to access those parts of your financial information, which are necessary in the interests of the investigation.

Privacy vs. Freedom of expression

Access to and disclosure of other individuals’ personal data affects not only the right to private life of those individuals, but also the requester’s freedom of expression. In such situations, the rights and interests of all persons involved should be balanced against each other, in order to find a lawful and proportionate solution.

How to request personal data

Someone else’s personal data will always be restricted information, namely, information which is not generally accessible to the public. If you require it, you should request this information from the particular public institution in writing and provide arguments as to why you need this information and for what use. The institution will provide you with an answer in 7-30 days and may refuse your request if its disclosure would limit the right to private life of other persons in a disproportionate way.

Human Rights Guide

A European platform for human rights education