Ádám Remport, a Bertha Justice Fellow based at the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU), helped win a lawsuit against a major news website that had violated its clients’ right to privacy.
As a Bertha Justice Fellow and legal officer at the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU), Ádám Remport works on the Privacy Project, which defends the rights of disenfranchised individuals against unnecessary and unjust governmental interference. Ádám specializes in data protection, with an emphasis on unlawful state surveillance and patients’ rights. Using these skills, he provides legal advice and support to the strategic litigation at HCLU with the aim of empowering individuals in the face of government intrusion and abuse. The combination of legal aid and strategic litigation undertaken at HCLU means that not only are disenfranchised individuals given access to justice, but new legal strategies are also explored, providing tools for human rights and movement lawyers to better protect and defend rights.
In July 2019, HCLU filed a lawsuit against ORIGO, a major news website indirectly funded by the government. Ádám worked on this case as a member of the Privacy Project. ORIGO had published an article that revealed the personal data of private individuals who took part in a number of demonstrations held by unions, NGOs and oppositionary political parties against a new piece of legislation that substantially raised the hours of legally acceptable overtime work. The information disclosed included the details of a union representative and another individual who was merely participating as a concerned citizen. The article, published in January 2019, was also defamatory. Some of the individuals affected turned to HCLU for legal aid, and six months later they filed a lawsuit.
Ádám was the legal officer tasked with preparing the relevant legal documents and the administration of the case. This included coordinating the potential clients, HCLU staff and lawyers, researching case law and screening potential clients for eligibility – as under Hungarian law, public figures (such as union leaders) must tolerate a higher degree of criticism and interference with their privacy. In addition, Ádám worked with the HCLU communications team to write press releases on developments in the case.
In February 2020, HCLU won the case. The court ruled that publishing the clients’ personal information was an infringement of their right to privacy. Consequently, ORIGO had to pay compensation to the clients and remove their names from the article. The judgment was upheld against an appeal that same year. Ádám shared his reflections on the experience: