Estonia has removed personal data from most court decisions involving deleted punishment

  • 2019-06-19
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – By the end of May, Estonia had removed personal data from most, or more precisely 79,049 judicial decisions involving a deleted punishment and made the judicial decisions available again. 

Acting on orders from the Ministry of Justice, the Center for Registers and Information Systems and the company Texta OU have automatically removed personal data from 79,049 judicial decisions and made the decisions available again in the information system of the courts and the portal of the Riigi Teataja official journal, spokespeople for the Ministry of Justice said on Wednesday.

The mass cleansing concerned criminal and misdemeanor cases adjudicated by courts of the first and second tier. There were over 5,000 judgments among the cases that could not be cleansed automatically and were dealt with by officials especially selected from courts. 

"When a person is punished for a misdemeanor or a criminal offense, after a certain period of time the punishment will be deleted. This period of time is shorter for misdemeanors and longer for criminal offenses, yet in order to ensure people's fundamental rights it is important that after the deletion of the punishment from the register data about it was not available elsewhere too. The names of individuals convicted on the basis of certain sections of the Penal Code will not be replaced. For instance, the data of individuals convicted of murder or sexual crimes is not replaced," said Viljar Peep, deputy secretary general of the Ministry of Justice.

"Next, we will develop a solution that will remove personal data from all judicial decisions subject to publication automatically. In addition, a solution must be completed in the framework of this project which upon the transfer to archives of a punishment initiates  the cleansing of the decision and the publication of a new one," Peep said.

As things stand now, decisions of the Supreme Court containing personal data continue to be available online. Work to develop a solution for removing personal data from these decisions is underway.