Article 4(1)(a) 'establishment of the controller' in EU data privacy law - time to rein in this expanding concept?

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extractIntroduction:Article 4 of the Data Protection Directive—defining theDirective’s territorial scope—has always been shroudedin a veil of mystery.1 No one seems to have been quitecertain as to exactly what the role of that Article is andhow it relates to other provisions; especially how it relatesto Article 28 dealing with jurisdiction. For the first15 years or so, the confusion surrounding Article 4seems to have mattered little in that, whatever issueArticle 4 was to address, that issue did not get muchtime in the limelight.That has now changed, not least due to the Internet.Article 4 has been the very focal point in one recentCJEU decision (Weltimmo2), and an important matterin another recent CJEU decision (Google Spain3).Furthermore, the proper interpretation of Article 4 isone of several important matters in a request tothe CJEU for a preliminary ruling from theOberster Gerichtshof of Austria (Verein fu¨rKonsumenteninformation4), in relation to whichAdvocate General Saugmandsgaard Øe delivered hisOpinion on 2 June 2016. And Article 4 is set to again bethe battle ground in the CJEU, namely in the context ofthe ongoing dispute relating to Facebook’s so-called‘Fanpages’.5 Among these disputes, it is particularly subsection1(a)—processing of personal data in the contextof the activities of an establishment of a controller inthe Union—that has been the focal point, and it is themeaning of that specific subsection I will discuss here.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-221
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Data Privacy Law
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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