In December 2015, a journalist disclosed one patient’s health data in a TV show. The data were related to the patient’s mental Serbia-map-colourhealth and his treatment in the mental health clinic “Dr Laza Lazarevic”, in Belgrade. The Serbian Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection (“Commissioner”) promptly established that the clinic disclosed the data to the Ministry of Health which, in turn, made the data available to the Ministry of Interior. On 23 December 2015, the Commissioner issued a warning to the clinic and the Ministry of Health because of the blatant violation of the patient’s right to privacy and protection of personal data. The Commissioner did not establish who disclosed the data to the journalist.
The Commissioner filed requests for initiation of the misdemeanor proceeding against the Minister of Health, the clinic and the director of the clinic. Also, the Commissioner filed a criminal complaint against an unknown person acting in the capacity of an official in the clinic or in the Ministry of Health or inthe Ministry of Interior, due to suspicion that he/she committed the crime of unauthorized collection of personal data. The Ministry of Interior is included because it initially requested from the Ministry of Health to obtain the data.
The Serbian Personal Data Protection Act considers personal data relating to health condition as particularly sensitive (the statutory expression). For processing of particularly sensitive data to be lawful, obtaining data subject’s informed consent (in writing) is always required. Exceptionally, data relating to political party affiliation, health condition and receipt of social assistance may be processed without the consent of the data subject, if a law provides for such processing.
The Commissioner found that the clinic disclosed the document containing health-related data to the Ministry of Health without the data subject’s consent and without a statutory basis allowing for an exception to the consent requirement.
[Read more…]
Source: Lexology; BDK Advokati/Attorneys at LawMarko Popovic and Bogdan Ivaniševic