Latvia, Law and Regulations, Legal Counsel, Legislation, Technology

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Sunday, 22.04.2018, 23:07

On the protection of personal data in Latvia

Veronika Telepneva, lawyer of Law Office INLAT PLUS, specially for BC, Riga, 11.04.2016.Print version
In recent years in Latvia, we receive an increasing number of questions from our customers about the need to register the processing of individuals' data obtained by the use of the DVR and video cameras installed on a private house or records from unmanned aerial vehicles such as drones.

Before we talk about the processing of data, it is necessary to understand what is hiding under that phrase. The hint is given by the Law "On protection of individuals’ personal data" (hereinafter referred to as the Law), according to which the processing of individuals' data is considered any action, carried out with personal data, including its collection, recording, input, storage, use, transfer, disclosure, blocking or deletion.


Thus, when setting on your private home video camera, we fall under section 5 of Article 21 of the Law, which determines that prior video monitoring with data persistence, you must register the processing of data in the Data State Inspectorate. This rule does not apply to us, if video monitoring is conducted on-line, i.e, without saving of the data.


The Law also does not apply to the processing of data, which is done for personal, domestic or household use, which is not transferred to third parties. In fact, we have the right to conduct video monitoring of our private fenced area (under condition that the public part of, for example, the street does not fall into the field of camera view), so to speak, for the family archive. However, here lies a certain risk. If the true purpose of video monitoring is a monitoring of third parties who may illegally enter the private area, such as robbers, there is a need to transfer a videotape to the police, i.e. to the third parties that will be the processing of individuals' data. In this case, the registration will be required.


The same situation is with the DVR, via which the recording of third parties and the public space is performed, which in the future will be given to the police as evidence of your innocence in the investigation of a traffic accident. The purpose of this video monitoring – the protection of your personal interests, health and property; this process is subject to registration of the data.


A more interesting situation is with drones that are equipped with cameras. This area is developing faster than the law that regulates it. Currently, the rules that will determine the use of drones are under development, and now their use is governed by the rules of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Latvia № 656 "Procedure for flights of unmanned aircraft and aircrafts of a different kind, which are not classified as aircraft."


As to the processing of data received from the cameras of drones, the situation is ambiguous. On the one hand, the drone records public space, people, i.e. the processing of personal data, and, therefore, there is a need for registration. Drone can be used to monitor the possessions, i.e., for the protection and security. At the same time, as the legal basis can serve the Section 6 of Article 7 of the Law, which determines that the data processing is necessary for the realization of your legitimate interests or the interests of a third party to whom the personal data provided, while complying with the fundamental rights and freedoms of the data of legal entity.


On the other hand, recording of landscapes can be carried out as a part of an art project, which means that there is no need in registration, as the Article 7 of the Law shall not apply to cases of personal data processing for journalistic, artistic or literary purposes.

Data State Inspectorate is responsible for registration of data processing, and the cost of this procedure for an individual is EUR 28,46.


As practice shows, the processing of data of individuals is becoming increasingly important. The development of technical capabilities takes not the least place. Regarding the need to register the processing of personal data of individuals, it should be noted that each case requires a separate analysis based on the legal right for the necessity of data processing.


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