Friday, February 20, 2015

Spanish Supreme Court questions the Army's confidentiality clause

According to the Spanish Supreme Court, the Army cannot force mIlitary personnel to sign a confidentiality agreement regarding their own data nor penalize those who refuse to sign.

El País reports that on September 9th, 2013, the Lieutenant General serving as Chief of the Armed Forces initiated a case against and penalized Lance Corporal Antonio Martínez Cánevas. He had refused to sign the confidentiality clause. The Central Military Court upheld the penalty in 2014, but L/Cpl Martínez challenged the decision. The Supreme Court has declared that the judgment and punishment are null and void.

The court reminded the parties that Armed Forces Disciplinary Regulations distinguish between orders and requirements. Hence, given that the Lance Corporal was required to sign but not ordered to do so, he cannot be reprimanded for refusing to sign.

The court also ruled that the clause the Lance Corporal was required to sign did not contemplate his right to be informed about the matters requested and was not in compliance with the Spanish Data Protection Law.

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