Bára Halldórsdóttir broke data protection laws when she recorded the conversation of six MPs at Klaustur Bar last November, according to the Data Protection Authority. RÚV reports that the authority ruled on the matter yesterday. Bára will not be fined, but must delete the recordings and submit a statement confirming she has done so.
The nation reacted in shock when a recording of six MPs of the Centre and People’s Parties revealed them making sexist, ableist, and homophobic remarks about their colleagues at Klaustur Bar in Reykjavík in late November. The MPs say that Bára Halldórsdóttir, who made the recording, violated their right to privacy.
Last December, the four Centre Party MPs on the recording, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, Bergþór Ólason, and Anna Kolbrún Árnadóttir requested that the Data Protection Authority investigate the case. The have stated their belief that Bára’s recording was premeditated and not a spur of the moment decision, as Bára has asserted. Bára’s lawyer sent a statement to the Data Protection Authority in response to the MPs’ request, writing that the case was outside of the Authority’s jurisdiction and should be handled in court.
Recording considered “electronic surveillance”
The Data Protection Authority has ruled that Bára’s recording falls under electronic surveillance and conflicts with EU legislation on the processing of personal data. The ruling states, among other things, that Bára considered the comments of the parliamentarians to be of importance to the public in light of their position, the conversation has given rise to much debate in society about the conduct of elected representatives, and there is no evidence of collusion in the case. In light of these facts, Bára will not be fined for her actions.
Bára wants protection for informants
Auður Tinna Aðabjarnardóttir, Bára’s lawyer, told RÚV the Data Protection Authority’s ruling does not come as a surprise as is based on a thorough review of relevant past cases. “My client is fairly satisfied and is very willing to delete the recording,” Auður stated. Bára does, however, want increased legal protection for informants, and feels she has had little in her case.
The MPs involved declined to comment on the ruling yesterday evening.