Dispute Resolution historyMedReyting LLC is the founder and editor of the online media (prodoctorov.ru), the purpose of which is to implement the patient's right to access information about medical institutions and doctors through the feedback of other patients.
In 2018, the medical worker filed a lawsuit in the Central District Court of Voronezh, demanding to stop processing personal data and to compensate for the moral harm caused by negative user comments in the amount of 150,000 rubles, due to placement of her personal data on the website of MedReyting LLC without obtaining prior consent3.
During proceedings, the courts ordered Medreyting LLC to stop processing the doctor's personal data, delete the information from the site, and pay 5 thousand rubles as compensation for moral harm4.
MedReyting LLC returned to the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation. According to the applicant, the norm contained in para. 8, part 1, art. 6 of the Federal Law "On Personal Data" contradicts the Constitution of the Russian Federation, since it allows the court to assess the balance between privacy and freedom of information dissemination on the basis of arbitrarily selected criteria, to prohibit the media from processing the personal data of a medical worker, by virtue of the law, became publicly available, which, in turn, prevents the work of a journalist and the legitimate actions of the media.
Constitutional court positionThe disputed norm was recognized by the Constitutional Court as not contradicting the Constitution of the Russian Federation. During the analysis of the case materials, the Constitutional Court made conclusions regarding the possibility of posting personal data of a medical worker on the media site, as well as the need for monitoring the published comments by online media.
The Constitutional Court noted that the distribution of personal data of a medical worker online (in particular, data on the first and last name, level of education and qualifications) without his consent, if such data was previously disclosed by the medical organization, does not violate the rights and freedoms of the medical worker and must ensure that users have access to information about the services provided by the medical worker. Changing or deleting employee data from the organization's website (for example, in the event of termination of an employment relationship) entails the need to update the information provided on exterior resources.
The Resolution also explains that the placement of personal data of medical workers for the collection and publication of reviews involves operational control over obviously illegal judgments, as well as for assessments that are not related to the professional activity of a doctor on the part of the online media. If comments appear on the site that discredit the honor, dignity or business reputation of a medical worker, the editorial board of the media is obliged to take the necessary measures to confirm the falsity of such information and then delete, change or publish a denial (response).
The Constitutional Court, as a measure to prevent further uncontrolled dissemination of the information mentioned above, recommended that the editorial board temporarily restrict access to the Internet address at which the comment is posted, and draw the attention of Internet users to its controversial nature for the time of verification.
In addition, the Constitutional Court clarified that in the case of systematic abuse of the right by the media when publishing personal data of a medical worker, the court has the right to impose a ban on the dissemination of personal data.
At the same time, the court should examine the question of the sufficiency of the measures taken to remove or refute such reviews, so that information that is not anti-legal in nature and remains relevant remains available.
Taking into account the explanations of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, the case of MedReyting LLC was sent for retrial.
Thus, according to the conclusions of the Constitutional Court, the placement of personal data of a medical employee on a media site, if such data is already posted by a medical organization, is not a violation of the rights and freedoms of the medical employee. Users of the site must have access to information that is not anti-legal in nature ((information about the first and last name, the level of education and qualifications of the medical worker), while the organization that publishes the data is obliged to take measures to confirm the unreliability of the information posted in the comments.
1Resolution of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation dated 25.05.2021 No. 22-P "In the case of checking the constitutionality of paragraph 8 of Part 1 of Article 6 of the Federal Law "On Personal Data" in connection with the complaint of the limited Liability Company "MedReyting"
2Federal Law "On Personal Data" dated 27.07.2006 No. 152-FZ
3Resolution of the Central District Court of the city of Voronezh dated 28.11.2018 under the case N 2-2794 / 2018~M-2357/201
4Appeal Ruling of the Voronezh Regional Court of March 12, 2020 under case No. 33-1212