Complaint Case Notes

編號: 0074/2017/IP

標題: Inspection of economic housing units

立案原因: Report


      The Complainant of the current case reported to the GPDP that Department A on quite a number of occasions, without prior notice, conducted inspection of economic housing units. He also expressed that the inspection staff failed to notify the tenants of the purposes of the data collection, and requested their IDs for registration. If the tenants were not at home, the staff would then record the readings of the electricity and water meters, and other information.      
    The Complainant believed that Department A violated the PDPA (Personal Data Protection Act) and therefore requested the GPDP to investigate.


    According to Department A, the inspections intended to check out whether the tenants were complying with the requirements of the economic housing laws. During the inspection, tenants were required to produce their identity cards to prove their identities. If a housing unit was found being occupied by someone other than the tenants or it was used for purposes other than living, the inspection staff will then produce an official report (auto de notícia). On the other hand, if a housing unit was discovered unoccupied for a long period of time, or the tenant was not found in the unit during different inspection periods, the inspectors would then take photos of the unit exterior and record the readings of the respective water and electricity meters.
    The data collected during the inspection related to identified individuals, and therefore they qualify as personal data. Article 3(1) and 4(1)(1) of the PDPA specify that such data are subject to its governance.
    Department A was recording the data of the housing units and the tenants in order to discharge the legal duties set out in the economic housing laws. In the event of any suspected violations, respective measures could be introduced, and personal data of those found in the housing unit would be collected for the official report. All these measures were aimed at exercising the “public authority (autoridade púlica)”, and therefore the criterion of legitimate processing, as Article 6(4) of the PDPA sets out, was fulfilled. By the same token, legitimate data processing criterion were also fulfilled, under Article 8(1) of the PDPA, in case of suspected illegal or criminal activities or administrative offences were found.
    Department A, for effective punitive measures, collected the data in relation to the housing units and the occupancy information, including the personal data collected for the official reports. Such collection is directly relating to Department A’s statutory duties and is concordant with the purpose to confirm the facts of illegal activities, as well as contacting and confirming the identities of the respective individuals. These showed that Department A did not violate Article 5(1)(2) and 5(1)(3) of the PDPA. In fact, any competent public authority, if noting any suspected administrative offenses, can require the concerned suspects to provide their IDs and dwelling information, as Decree Law 52/99/M (Regime geral das infracções administrativas e respectivo procedimento/General regime of administrative offenses and procedures) provided for.
    During the inspection, staff would inform those in the housing units that they were inspecting the housing units, according to Department A. If violations were found, official reports would be drafted, and the reports themselves have been pre-printed with its department name and logo, and the tenants were also required to sign to confirm the information on the report corresponded to what they provided. Henceforth the data subjects should have understood that Department A collected the personal data for its investigations and for the accuracy of the official reports. But to better safeguard the data subjects’ right to information, the GPDP has already recommended Department A, in writing, to formulate a Personal Data Collection Statement, in accordance with Article 10(1) and 10(2), and included it as part of the official reports.
    To sum up, in this case Department A was not found violating the PDPA.


  This case was closed.

Please refer to Article 3, 4, 5, 6 and 10 of the PDPA.