As of August 2012, an amendment to the Czech Act No. 218/2000 Coll., on Budgetary Rules, became effective. In accordance with the Act, the Ministry of Finance shall publish on a website any and all documents and details (save for some statutory exceptions) that are relevant for the provision of a state subsidy, regardless of whether the author of such documents is a legal entity or an individual. In practice, such documents almost always contain personal data of the state subsidy receivers (and possibly also of third parties). The system has already been launched.
The newly introduced duty is aimed at the suppression of bribery in the public sector, which seems to be the topic of the year in the Czech Republic. However, it has been often argued that these new rules, making public the personal data of the receivers of state subsidies, are contrary to the EU principles of data protection. These principles are incorporated in the EU Directive No. 95/46/EC on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data. Even if the Czech law provides for different regulation than the Directive, it may be argued that some rights of individuals under the Directive may be enforced directly in accordance with the Directive, i.e. that the individuals may seek direct effect of the Directive.
Very recently, the Czech Data Protection Authority has joined the public discussion and published a written opinion where it supports the view that these new rules on making personal data of state subsidy receivers public are contrary to Czech data protection law. In its written opinion, the Czech Data Protection Authority draws the attention of the public to the decision of the EU Court of Justice No. C-92/09 and C-93/09, where the Court expressly stated that publication on a website of data naming the state subsidy beneficiaries and indicating the precise amounts received by them constitutes an interference with the private life of such individuals within the meaning of Article 7 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU.
According to the written opinion of the Czech Data Protection Authority, individuals who are affected by the publication of their personal data based on the Act on Budgetary Rules may request the Czech Ministry of Finance to stop publishing their personal data. In addition, they may also claim damages (if any) as well as compensation for non-pecuniary loss from the Ministry. The Czech Data Protection Authority also made a clear statement according to which it is prepared to protect rights of those individuals who will challenge these new rules and will seek direct application of rules under Directive No. 95/46/EC instead.
The written opinion of the Czech Data Protection Authority can be found at: http://www.uoou.cz/files/stanovisko_2012_14.pdf