The ECHR judgment of 28 November 2017 in the case of Antovic and Mirkovic v. Montenegro (application No. 70838/13).
In 2013, the applicants were assisted in preparing the application. Subsequently, the application was communicated to Montenegro.
In the case, a complaint was successfully considered on the establishment of hidden CCTV in the university's classrooms for employees at their workplace, for intrusion into their personal lives, involving fixed and reproducible documentation of behavior in the workplace. In the case there was a violation of the requirements of Article 8 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
The applicants were teachers of the university. After deciding the dean to introduce video surveillance in a number of university auditoriums, they filed a complaint with the agency for the protection of personal data. The Agency satisfied their complaint and ordered the removal of the cameras, in particular, because the conditions for the organization of video surveillance, provided for in § 36 of the Law on Personal Data Protection, were not respected, since there was no evidence of a security threat to people and property, the goal of safety training was not included in the list of legal grounds for video surveillance. This decision was quashed by the courts of Montenegro on the grounds that the university was a public institution carrying out activities of public interest, including training. The auditoriums were workplaces like a courtroom or a parliament where professors were never alone, so they could not invoke the right to respect for private life that could be violated. The collected data also could not be considered as personal.
ISSUES OF LAW
Concerning compliance with Article 8 of the Convention. (a) Applicability. The audience of the university was the workplace of the teachers. There they not only taught students, but also interacted with them, developing relationships and shaping their social identity. The Court has already indicated that covert surveillance of employees at their workplace can be seen as a significant intrusion into their personal lives, resulting in a fixed and reproducible documentation of conduct in the workplace that could not be avoided by employees who are bound by a contractual obligation to work in this place. There were no grounds for the Court to depart from this conclusion, even in the case of unobtrusive video surveillance in its workplace. In addition, the Court also pointed out that even if the employer's rules regarding the personal social life of workers in the workplace were restrictive, they could not bring it to naught. Observance of the right to respect for private life continued to exist, even if it could be restrictive if necessary. The data collected by the disputed video surveillance related to the "private life" of the applicants, and Article 8 of the Convention was thus applicable in the present case.
(b) Merits. Applicable law (article 36 of the Personal Data Protection Act) explicitly provided for certain conditions, the achievement of which allowed monitoring through cells. However, in the present case, these conditions were not met, as the Agency for the Protection of Personal Data rightfully established. In this respect (in the absence of consideration of the matter by the courts of the country), the Court could not but conclude that the interference with the privacy of the applicants caused by video surveillance in their workplace was not "prescribed by law" for the purposes of Article 8 of the Convention.
In the case there was a violation of the requirements of Article 8 of the Convention (adopted by four votes "for" with three - "against").
In the application of Article 41 of the Convention. The Court awarded EUR 1,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage to the applicants.