On the 19th of January 2023, the Council for Aliens Law Litigation (CALL) delivered its judgment, n°283 208. The case concerned an Albanian asylum applicant whose asylum claim was declared manifestly unfounded by the Office of the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons. However, the applicant appealed by contesting the relevance of the Commissioner’s reasoning because of its interview through a videoconference (Microsoft Teams) which arguably lacks confidentiality.

The Council stated that the central issue is whether the personal interview via videoconference complies with Article 13/1 Royal Decree 2003 and the Articles 13 and 44-50 GDPR. In that regard, the Council noted the recent unpublished judgment of the Council of State (n° 254 655) declaring that applicants may challenge this if they consider it necessary.

The CALL stated that in order to adequately assess the issue they require technical knowledge which they currently do not have. Further investigation is therefore necessary and so the two Parties should use all means to address at least the following two aspects: a) Collect all relevant information regarding the reliability of MS Teams; this reliability should ensure that confidentiality is respected as well as the norms governing the possible transfer of personal data to third countries or international organisations and b) whether recourse to external experts or competent bodies such as the data protection authority may be considered necessary. The Council concludes that the contested decision should be annulled so that the Commissioner-General can take the necessary steps to adequately answer the issues raised in this judgment.

Based on an unofficial translation from within the EWLU team.

We would like to thank Pierre Robert, lawyer at KOMPASO, for bringing this case to our attention.