Volume 52 (2015)

Volume 52 (2015) / Issue 1

David Erdos, 'From the Scylla of restriction to the Charybdis of licence? Exploring the scope of the “special purposes” freedom of expression shield in European data protection' (2015) 52 Common Market Law Review, Issue 1, pp. 119–153


The relationship between European data protection and public freedom of  expression is tense. Directive 95/46 includes a special purposes provision  for processing "carried out solely for journalistic purposes or . . . artistic  or literary expression", but its limited scope fails to fully reconcile values  in this area. The recent Google Spain decision highlights that these  problems were only partially resolved in Satamedia. Proposed  amendments risk expanding the scope of this highly discretionary clause  into one of universal application. However, this conflicts with the core  harmonizing aim of reform, and would almost certainly be interpreted  much more restrictively, fuelling existing confusions. A two-pronged,  layered approach may be preferable, expanding the special purposes  provision to protect disclosure of information, opinion or ideas for the  benefit of the public collectively, while obliging Member States to effect a  broader but more stringent reconciliation of data protection with the right  to public freedom of expression under general derogation provisions.

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ISSN: 0165-0750
ID: COLA2015005