The Consitutional Court of the Russian Federation on the protection of medical workers’ personal data: Ruling of the 25th May of 2021 No. 21-P

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Author: Alyona Gerashchenko

Keywords: digitalization; information; public figure; right to privacy

DOI: 10.21128/1812-7126-2021-6-137-154

Abstract

The definition of the legal term “personal data” suggested by the Russian legislator is broad and vague. So is the definition of the right to privacy. Both terms are hard to define both logically and ontologically. According to the European Court of Human Rights’ approach, the right to the protection of personal data forms the foundation of the right to privacy. When the legal terms are defined broadly, it gets hard to protect them, especially in the era of digitalization. The 21st century is characterized by the blurring of the spheres of private and public life due to the vast use of digital technologies. The excessive blurring of these spheres creates more and more chances for breaches of the right to private life, and as a consequence, for breaches of the right to protection of personal data. This article makes a theoretical contribution by analyzing the evolution of private-public spheres applying historical and philosophical approaches. It analyzes the judgement of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation in relation to the public interest in medical personnel’s professional work, and demonstrates the narrowing of the boundaries of their right to privacy. The narrowing takes place by the Court’s extending the public figure doctrine to result in the classification of the doctors’ personal data as public information. The author criticizes this approach and shows a difference between the legal regimes for public information and for personal data that are published with open access due to federal law requirements and consent of the medical workers provided during the recruitment processes. The author suggests another approach to the protection of the personal data of doctors by defining such data as personal data allowed to be distributed to the public in consequence of the person’s entering into labor relationships.

About the author: Alyona Gerashchenko – Ph.D. Student, faculty member, Faculty of Law, Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia.

Citation: Gerashchenko A. (2021) Konstitutsionnyy Sud RF o zashchite personal'nykh dannykh meditsinskikh rabotnikov: Postanovlenie ot 25 maya 2021 goda Nº 21-P [The Consitutional Court of the Russian Federation on the protection of medical workers’ personal data: Ruling of the 25th May of 2021 No. 21-P]. Sravnitel'noe konstitutsionnoe obozrenie, vol. 30, no. 6, pp. 137–154. (In Russian).

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