The Date Protection Authority has ruled that Bára Halldórsdóttir‘s recordings of six MPs speaking abusively in public constitutes “electronic surveillance”, RÚV reports. As such, the Authority believes she violated the privacy of the politicians she recorded speaking in public, but she will not be fined for this.
As reported, Bára was in the bar Klaustur on the evening of November 20th when she overheard six MPs—Bergþór Ólason, Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson and Anna Kolbrún Árnadóttir of the Centre Party, with Karl Gauti Hjaltason and Ólafur Ísleifsson of the People’s Party—speaking abusively about their female colleagues, making jokes at the expense of the queer and the disabled, and Gunnar Bragi bragging about engaging in quid pro quo. She recorded their conversation from a distance, and subsequently sent the recordings on to select media outlets.
The transcription and publication of these recordings sparked a political scandal, and while some of those recorded were initially contrite, the four Centre Party MPs launched a legal effort against Bára, which included filing a complaint with the Data Protection Authority. Their arguments have included bizarre theories, such as that Bára deliberately disguised herself as a tourist, and that the recording was both pre-meditated and had the help of others to plan and execute.
The Data Protection Authority has ruled that these recordings constitute “electronic surveillance”, and as such are in violation of EEA regulations regarding the handling of personal information. They did not, however, believe that the recordings were the result of a pre-meditated conspiracy involving one or more accomplices, and that Bára was operating under the belief that what was being said in the recordings was relevant to the public interest.
While Bára is compelled to delete the recordings, she will not be fined for this. Bára has until June 5 to confirmed for the Data Protection Authority that the recordings are in fact deleted.
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