The Ministry of Justice issued the Fa-Lu-10503512050 Circular of August 3, 2016 (hereinafter, the “Circular” to communicate that a police agency’s comparison of the personal data about citizens found and inspected in controlled inappropriate establishments with the database of police officers to ascertain the disciplinary compliance status of police officers is likely to violate the principle of proportionality.
According to the Circular, Article 17 of the Police Authority Exercise Law and Article 16 of the Personal Data Protection Law (hereinafter, the “Law”) as well as Subparagraph 2 of its provide that a public agency shall use personal data within a scope necessary to perform its “statutory duties” and such use shall be consistent with the specific purposes of collection, provided that personal data may be used beyond such specific purposes if such use is necessary to promote public interest. Therefore, when a police agency compares the personal data about the citizens obtained in its statutory random inspection with its database of police officers to verify if any of its police officers has visited inappropriate establishments, since this involves the “use” of personal data, Article 16 of the Law shall be complied.
It is further pointed out in the Circular that when conducting random inspection for special police purposes, a police agency may take “identification verification” measures by collecting the personal data about each inspected citizen such as the name, date of birth, residence and National Identification Number and recording the same in the random inspection records. However, if a police agency compares the personal data contained in the random inspection records with the database of its police officers in order to identify police officers in violation of disciplinary requirements and to enhance supervision and evaluation, such use goes beyond the “specific purposes.” Under Article 5 of the Law, the rights and interests of the individuals concerned should be respected, and such use should be engaged in honest and creditable manners and should not exceed the scope of necessity for specific purposes in order to meet the principle of proportionality. Therefore, when a police agency compares the personal data about citizens found and inspected in controlled inappropriate establishments with the database of its affiliated police officers in order to ascertain the disciplinary compliance of its police officers and to avoid their disciplinary violations, such global, general and before-the-fact comparison mechanism is likely to violate the principle of proportionality.