In the decision of August 2, 2019, GZ: DSBD123.594/0003-DSB/2019, the data protection authority had to clarify, in the course of a complaint procedure, the question of whether the complainant’s right to confidentiality had been violated by the fact that the respondent, her teacher, had disclosed the exact composition of one of her grades to the class representatives in order to resolve disagreements in the class.
The data protection authority first held that an interference with the fundamental right to secrecy of data can occur in almost any form, thus also by oral transmission. Furthermore, it stated that a school grade is also a personal data pursuant to Art. 4 para. 1 GDPR is concerned.
The data protection authority denied general availability of the data communicated to the class representatives. The subject of discussion between the respondent and the class representatives was not only the complainant’s school grade per se, but rather detailed information about how this grade was arrived at. Such an approach is not covered by § 6 para. 2 of the Performance Evaluation Ordinance, on which the respondent relied. The respondent’s argument that he had not disclosed any significant new information could not be accepted. The DPA assumed that the class representatives had certainly not been aware of the exact grade composition and that the notice may very well have contained new information. The protection of the data was therefore to be affirmed in any case.
The data protection authority did not overlook the fact that the notification to the class representatives was based on the understandable intention of settling disagreements within the class, but informing the student concerned about the exact composition of the grade would have been a more palliative measure.
Against this background, the data protection authority concluded that there had been a violation of the right to confidentiality.
This decision is not legally binding.