The GDPR grants data subjects specific rights to ensure that they have control over the use of their personal data in Articles 15 to 22.
These rights, which are given to the data subject thanks to the provisions contained in the regulation, should be kept distinct from fundamental rights, which, conversely, do not require special conferment as they are inherent to human existence.
The GDPR, through the protection of personal data, “protects the fundamental rights and freedoms of natural persons.” The protection of personal data and individuals is also implemented through the recognition of the exercise of so-called “privacy rights.”
Within these rights, there is no ranking of importance or prevalence; all are of equal importance even though they aim to achieve different goals. It should be emphasized, however, that among them one right in particular stands out, with an instrumental function with respect to the others as well as being a direct implementation of the principle of transparency: the right of access.
It raises no particular surprise, therefore, if as many as three decisions issued by the CJEU in the first half of 2023 concern aspects of the right of access, in response to as many questions posed by national referring courts, in the context of requests for preliminary rulings.
Decisions of the CJEU on the right of access
The preliminary rulings on the right of access issued by the CJEU in the first half of 2023 are:
- In Osterreichische case, C-154/21, dated January. 12, 2023 on the right of access and information to be provided regarding recipients.
- In Crif Case, C-487/21, dated May 4, 2023 on the right of access, on the meaning of “copy” and that of “information” to be provided in acknowledgement.
- In Case Pankki, C-579/21, dated June 22, 2023, on the scope of the right of access in relation to consultation operations carried out by employees authorized to process, the permissibility of subjecting logs to the information to be provided as a result of the exercise of this right, and the meaning of “recipient.”