Are the entrepreneur's data protected?

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When deciding to run a business, you should accept a certain recognition. The data of companies, and often of their employees or owners, are usually easily accessible to customers, especially if part of the entrepreneur's activity is carried out over the network. While the content of your own website can be controlled and the disclosure of personal data can be limited to a minimum, the data contained in CEIDG is visible to anyone who searches for it on the website. The entrepreneur has no influence on the fact that every internet user can get to know the data about his company. Is the entrepreneur's data safe?

Is information about the entrepreneur personal data?

At the beginning, it is worth considering whether the information about the company that we can obtain through the website or read on the CEIDG website has the status of personal data. This concept is defined by Art. 6 sec. 1 of the Act on the Protection of Personal Data:

 

Art. 6

1. Within the meaning of the Act, personal data shall be any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person.

2. An identifiable person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identification number or to one or more factors specific to his physical, physiological, mental, economic, cultural or social characteristics.

3. Information shall not be considered as making it possible to identify a person if it would require excessive costs, time or activities.

In art. 6 of the Act is concerned only with a natural person, besides, both the company's website and the Internet register of entrepreneurs are easily accessible and public, hence the belief that the entrepreneur's data is not subject to statutory protection in any way. This conviction is fostered by the fact that until recently in Art. 7a paragraph. 2 of the Act - Business Law, it was possible to find a provision stating that the entrepreneur's data is not protected on the basis of such principles as personal data. This regulation was repealed on December 31, 2011, but the belief that the data of the entrepreneur is public, and therefore can be processed, remained in the public awareness.

However, this statement is incorrect. An entrepreneur is a kind of public figure, equated with the activity he conducts. The information relating to him, which can be consulted on the CEIDG website, is related to running a business - the address shown in CEIDG is not the address of residence, but the one where the business is conducted.

Thus, this is information that is intended to be used to contact the entrepreneur. However, in addition to data closely related to the entrepreneur, CEIDG may also contain information on the more private sphere of his life as a natural person - name and surname, PESEL number, home address or e-mail address. This type of information is protected by the provisions of the Personal Data Protection Act.

The reason for protection is simple - the law stipulates that when an entity intends to process someone else's personal data, it must ask the owner for consent, unless it does so in exceptional circumstances specified in the act (it is necessary to exercise the right or fulfill the obligation resulting from the law, to perform tasks specified by law for the public good, to perform a contract to which the data subject is a party - this results from the obligations of database administrators, and does not infringe the interest of the data subject).

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Entrepreneur's data and CEIDG

CEIDG is a database of a definitely non-commercial nature, and its openness does not affect the prohibition of processing the information contained therein. Entrepreneurs who made an entry in the register, agreeing to make some of their personal data public, did not automatically consent to the processing of personal data for purposes other than enabling contractors to obtain information about the company and its contact details.

As already mentioned, not all data displayed on the CEIDG website is protected in the same way. As underlined by the Personal Data Protection Act, data that could be used to identify a natural person is protected. Therefore, legal protection covers data that indicates the entrepreneur as a natural person - for example, name and surname - and data that is not made public, such as an e-mail address. Data that can only be assigned to the entrepreneur, such as the company name or the address of its registered office, are not protected.