Klaustur Scandal Whistle-blower Must Delete Recordings

Bára Halldórsdóttir

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.

Read More: The Klaustur Scandal

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.

Data Protection Authority Denies Klaustur MPs Request

Klaustur Bar

The Board of the Data Protection Authority has denied the request of four Centre Party MPs for further data collection connected to the so-called Klaustur Scandal, RÚV reports. The MPs’ lawyer had requested, among other things, information on payments made to Bára Halldórsdóttir’s bank account. The four MPs were among a group of six whom Bára recorded making sexist, ableist, and homophobic remarks about their colleagues at Klaustur Bar in Reykjavík in late November.

In Focus: The Klaustur Scandal

The ruling states that the Data Protection Authority does not consider itself authorised to gather information from financial institutions and communications companies for cases which do not concern the companies themselves. The Authority considers there to be enough information available to make a final ruling in the case.

The Authority’s ruling also states that the MPs’ lawyer believes Bára’s recording was premeditated and executed with one or more accomplices. Bára’s lawyers have denied such claims and requested the Data Protection Authority drop the case, as it pertains to freedom of speech and privacy and should be ruled on in court.

In Focus: The Klaustur Scandal

Klaustur Bar

The nation reacted in shock when a recording of six MPs revealed them making sexist, ableist, and homophobic remarks about their colleagues at Klaustur Bar in Reykjavík in late November. The case, which has since become known as the Klaustur Scandal, made headlines internationally and led to public protests in Iceland. The individual responsible for […]

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District Court Denies Klaustur MPs’ Request

Bára Halldórsdóttir.

The District Court of Reykjavík has denied four MPs’ request to question witnesses as evidence in the case of the infamous Klaustur recording, RÚV reports. The Centre Party MPs requested permission to carry out questioning of individuals connected to the bar where the recording was made as evidence for a potential lawsuit against Bára Halldórsdóttir, who made the recording in secret and submitted it to media.

The MPs’ barroom conversation rife with sexist, ableist, and homophobic remarks toward colleagues has been the talk of local and international media since it was first reported on by Stundin. A recent poll showed a majority of Icelanders want the six MPs who were present to resign.

The MPs now have several options moving forward. They could appeal the District Court’s ruling to the Land’s Court, or file a private lawsuit against Bára. They also have the option of pressing charges for the publication of the recording via police. The group has already filed a formal complaint to the Data Protection Authority in the case, asserting that the recording constituted a violation of privacy.

Klaustur Informant Appears in Court

Bára Halldórsdóttir Klaustur scandal

A crowd of supporters clapped and cheered for Bára Halldórsdóttir, responsible for the now-infamous Klaustur recordings, when she appeared in court yesterday shortly after 3.00pm. It remains unclear whether the four MPs whose sexist, ableist, and homophobic comments Bára recorded at a Reykjavík bar and sent to media will formally file a case against her, RÚV reports.

Suspect collaborators

Reimar Pétursson, representing the four MPs in the District Court of Reykjavík today, stated his clients believe the recording of their conversation at Klaustur bar was a gross violation of their right to privacy. Reimar said they were reviewing whether to file a lawsuit and by requesting permission to call on witness testimony, they wanted to confirm how the recording had been carried out. “It should be possible to see exactly how the defendant committed this violation,” he stated, adding that it was important to see whether Bára hid the fact she was recording from the parties present or whether she had any collaborators. Reimar stated that his clients do not believe Bára’s own account of the event to be credible.

Nothing to hide

Auður Tinna Aðalbjarnardóttir, Bára’s lawyer, opposed the MPs’ demand for witness testimony and surveillance footage. She pointed to the fact that Bára has discussed the events of the evening in detail in media and has confirmed her willingness to do so in court, and that the MPs would need very strong legal reasons to request additional data. She added that the Data Protection Authority was already investigating the case at the request of the MPs, and that they or the police are the correct party to consider such data, not the court. The judge stated a ruling would be made before the end of the week.

“Just me and my coffee cup”

After leaving the courtroom, Bára insisted to reporters that she had neither collaborators nor company at Klaustur bar on the night she made the recording, stating it was “just me and my coffee cup.” She said she still feels in the dark about the MPs intentions after the court appearance. “I thought it would be much clearer what this is all about when I walked out but I’m still not any closer to that except that I think the plaintiff wants to get data,” she stated.