In the decision of February 28, 2020, GZ: DSB-D123.685/0009.DSB/2019, the data protection authority had to deal with the question of the extent to which the filming of public security officers during an official act, and the subsequent publication of these images on social media, violates the police officers’ right to confidentiality. In this case, the data protection authority had to weigh the protection of personal data against the right to freedom of expression and partially upheld the complaint.
Questioning the proportionality of police command and coercive power – here on the topic of “ethnic profiling by the police” – represents a contribution to a debate of public interest. Therefore, in the opinion of the data protection authority, publication was permissible in principle and the complaint was to be dismissed accordingly.
However, the situation is different in the case of two specific image recordings: On the one hand, a police officer was depicted with rabbit ears and rabbit nose using a Snapchat filter, and on the other hand, a female police officer was photographed, whereby this image shot was provided with lewd text and sexualized emoji. These two publications do not constitute a suitable contribution to a debate of public interest. In particular lies
in the latter image, the focus is not on an organ of the police, but refers directly to a person in her role as a woman. With regard to
these two photographs therefore outweighs the right to secrecy and was the complaint
to that effect.
The decision is not legally binding.