Private life & Data protection
Amann v. Switzerland
European Court of Human Rights
16 February 2000
In the early 1980s the applicant Mr.Amann received a telephone call from the Soviet Embassy. The telephone call was intercepted, and the Intelligence Service of the police carried out an investigation into the applicant. Subsequently the Public Prosecutor\'s Office drew up a card on the applicant for its national security card index. A photocopy of the applicant’s card was sent to him with a censored passage. Mr.Amann claimed compensation from the Swiss Confederation for the unlawful entry of his particulars in the card index kept by the Public Prosecutor\'s Office but the applicant\'s claims were dismissed.
The applicant complained that the creation of a card on him and the storage thereof in the Confederation’s card index had resulted in a violation of his right to private life.
The Court ruled that as there was no law that allowed to create a card and to store individual’s data in the interests of national security, the interference was not prescribed by law. Therefore the right to private life of Mr.Amann had been violated.
The Court noted that details in Mr.Amann’s card stating that he was a businessman and a \"contact with the Russian embassy\" amounted to data relating to his private life. The storage of information relating to an individual’s private life by a public authority is an interference within the meaning of Article 8 and the subsequent use of the stored information does not affect this conclusion.