In principle, you should have no obstacles in accessing your own private data where it is held by public institutions or private entities, such as companies and organisations (data controllers). Furthermore, the granting of access should not be delayed.
However, in exceptional cases provided by law and where it is necessary to protect other important interests, the institution may partly or fully refuse to provide you with access to the requested data. These important interests (aims) may be, for instance:
- the prevention of disorder or crime
- national security
- public order
- the fight against terrorism
- the rights and interests of other persons
example Your wish to know the type of information the police have collected on you may conflict with the state’s interests in ensuring the confidentiality of an investigation. Therefore, the particular state institution or private entity may refuse you access to information classified as confidential, to protect state security or the interests of an investigation.
Right to copy your data
If an institution has granted you access to your data files, you should also have the right to make copies of these files.
note You should be provided with copies of your processed personal data free of charge. However, data user may require you to cover the fees necessary to make additional copies of your personal data. Such fees should not exceed the expenses incurred to collect and copy your personal data.
This right can only be restricted in exceptional cases when the institution has provided specific and compelling reasons for not allowing you to make copies.
example You will not be allowed to obtain copies of your personal data files if it might adversely affect the rights and freedoms of other persons.
Articles 27, 35
Applicable as of 25 May 2018
Articles 12-15, 23
7 July 1989
28 April 2009
6 June 2006
27 October 2009
9 October 2015
See Summary on case law regarding the access to data
(2019-2019), pages 44-49
Joint publication by the the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights and the Council of Europe