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Case Notes

Case Notes

This case related to DPP6 - Access to personal data

Case No.:2004C19

Data access request made by an ex-employee

The Complaint

1. Summary of Facts

An ex-employee of a University complained against the University for editing out certain information in an extract of minutes of meeting, which was provided to the complainant in compliance with his data access request for documents relating to his dismissal.

The University argued that the matters being discussed in the concerned meeting were about the way and manner in which the handling staff had dealt with the complainant's complaint and whether they had followed the proper procedure in the complainant's dismissal. The focus of the meeting and the extract of minutes in question were on the review of their internal mechanism of handling the complainant’s complaint and dismissal, and accordingly did not regard as the complainant's personal data.

2. Issues of the Case

Whether the obliterated information amounted to the personal data of the complainant.


1. Reasoning

An investigation was undertaken by the PCPD. The PCPD considered that the obliterated information was the complainant's personal data. Having considered the contents of the concerned extract of minutes, it showed that the meeting concerned not merely related to the review of the university's internal mechanism of handling the complainant's complaint, but it was also a discussion of how the complainant's case was specifically handled. The focus in the meeting was, in fact, about the employment related matter of the complainant as a specified individual and that the concerned extract of minutes should be viewed as focusing on the complainant personally. In this connection, the obliterated information in the concerned extract of minutes could be taken as "relating directly or indirectly to" the complainant. As such, the complainant should have been entitled to a copy of the whole extract of minutes subject to the deletion of other individuals' personal data under s20(2)(b).

2. Action by the PCPD

An enforcement notice was served on the University requiring it to provide the complainant with a copy of the whole extract of minutes of meeting in question with omission only of the names and other identifying particulars of other individuals in accordance with s20(2) of the Ordinance; and to review and revise its internal guideline and procedure in relation to the handling of data access request.

3. Improvement action by party complaint against

The University had complied with the enforcement notice.

Category : Provisions/DPPs/COPs/Guidelines : Topic/Subject Matter :