Data Protection Commissioner
审理法院：欧盟第二法庭（THE COURT (Second Chamber)）
数据保护专员也以同样的理由拒绝了他的访问请求，因此Nowak先生转而求助国家法院。爱尔兰最高法院在审理上诉时询问法院，针对本案的主要争议，95 / 46号指令第2 ( a )条可否解释为，考生在专业考试中提交的书面答案以及考官对答案的评语，构成该条款下与考生有关的个人数据。
第一，法院指出，根据95 / 46号指令第2 ( a )条中规定的“个人数据”，并非所有能够识别数据主体的信息都由个人掌握。此外，如果考官在评阅考生提交的试卷时不知道该考生的身份。那么，考试机构即注册会计师协会可以通过印在考卷上的身份证号码准确轻松识别考生的身份，并对应到该考生的答案。
Mr Nowak, a trainee accountant, had failed the examination set by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ireland. He submitted a data access request, under section 4 of Ireland"s Data Protection Act, seeking all the personal data relating to him held by the Institute of Chartered Accountants. That institute sent certain documents to Mr Nowak, but refused to send to him his examination script, on the ground that it did not contain personal data relating to him, within the meaning of the data protection legislation.
Since the Data Protection Commissioner had also declined to grant his access request on the same grounds, Mr Nowak turned to the national courts. The Supreme Court (Ireland), hearing the appeal brought by Mr Nowak, asked the Court whether Article 2(a) of Directive 95/46 must be interpreted as meaning that, in circumstances such as those at issue in the main proceedings, the written answers submitted by a candidate at a professional examination and any examiner’s comments with respect to those answers constitute personal data relating to that candidate, within the meaning of that provision.
In the first place, the Court noted that, for information to be treated as ‘personal data’ within the meaning of Article 2(a) of Directive 95/46, there is no requirement that all the information
enabling the identification of the data subject must be in the hands of one person. Furthermore, in the event that the examiner does not know the identity of the candidate when marking the answers submitted by that candidate in an examination, the body that set the examination, in this case the Institute of Chartered Accountants, does, nevertheless, have available to it the information needed to enable it easily and infallibly to identify that candidate through his
identification number, placed on the examination script or its cover sheet, and thereby to ascribe the answers to that candidate.
In the second place, the Court found that the written answers submitted by a candidate at a professional examination constitute information that is linked to him as a person. The content of those answers reflects the extent of the candidate’s knowledge and competence in a given field and, in some cases, his intellect, thought processes, and judgment. In addition, the purpose of collecting those answers is to evaluate the candidate’s professional abilities and his suitability to practise the profession concerned. Moreover, the use of that information — one consequence of that use being the candidate’s success or failure at the examination concerned — is liable to have an effect on his rights and interests, in that it may determine or influence, for example, the chance of entering the profession aspired to or of obtaining the post sought. It is equally true that the written answers submitted by a candidate at a professional examination constitute information that relates to that candidate by reason of its content, purpose or effect, where the examination is an open-book examination (paragraphs 31and 36 to 40).
In the third place, as regards the comments of an examiner with respect to the candidate’s answers, the Court considered that they, no less than the answers submitted by the candidate at the examination, constitute information relating to that candidate, since they reflect the opinion or the assessment of the examiner of the individual performance of the candidate in the examination, particularly of his knowledge and competences in the field concerned. The purpose of those comments is, moreover, precisely to record the examiner’s evaluation of the candidate’s performance, and those comments are liable to have effects for the candidate(paragraphs 42 and 43).
In the fourth place, the Court ruled that the written answers submitted by a candidate at a professional examination and any comments made by an examiner with respect to those answers are liable to be checked for, in particular, their accuracy and the need for their retention, within the meaning of Article 6(1)(d) and (e) of Directive 95/46, and may be subject to rectification or erasure, under Article 12(b) of the directive. To give a candidate a right of access to those answers and to those comments, under Article 12(a) of that directive, serves the purpose of that directive of guaranteeing the protection of that candidate’s right to privacy with regard to the processing of data relating to him, irrespective of whether that candidate does or does not also have such a right of access under the national legislation applicable to the examination procedure. However, the Court pointed out that the rights of access and rectification, under Article 12(a) and (b) of Directive 95/46, do not extend to the examination questions, which do not as such constitute the candidate’s personal data (paragraphs 56 and 58).
In the light of these points, the Court concluded that, in circumstances such as those at issue in the main proceedings, the written answers submitted by a candidate at a professional examination and any examiner’s comments with respect to those answers constitute personal data, within the meaning of Article 2(a) of Directive 95/46 (paragraph 62 and operative part).