Legitimate Interest under GDPR

Legitimate Interest under GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) stands as a landmark legislation in the realm of data protection, setting out stringent rules to safeguard the privacy and rights of individuals within the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA). Among its provisions is the concept of “legitimate interest,” which offers organizations a legal basis for processing personal data under specific circumstances. Let’s delve into the intricacies of legitimate interest under GDPR, examining its definition, requirements, implications, and limitations.



What is GDPR’s legitimate Interest?

First of all, the GDPR, is a comprehensive regulation designed to harmonize data protection laws across the EU and EEA member states. It imposes obligations on organizations that collect, process, or store personal data, aiming to enhance individuals’ control over their personal information while fostering a digital environment of trust and accountability.


Under GDPR, legitimate interest serves as one of the lawful bases for processing personal data. It pertains to situations where an organization’s processing activities are deemed necessary for its legitimate interests or those of a third party, provided that such interests are not overridden by the rights and freedoms of the data subjects. Legitimate interest is foreseen under Article 6 (f):


processing is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the controller or by a third party, except where such interests are overridden by the interests or fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject which require protection of personal data, in particular where the data subject is a child.




Legitimate Interest Template (LIA)



Requirements for Legitimate Interest:

Article 6.1 f) breaks down into three parts:


  • Purpose: (..processing is necessary for..)


  • Necessity: (..the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the controller or by a third party..)


  • Balance: (..except where such interests are overridden by the interests or fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject which require protection of personal data, in particular where the data subject is a child…)


It calls for a balancing test: the needs essential to the lawful concerns of the controller (or third parties) need to be weighed against the interests or fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject.




Lawfulness and Legitimate Interest:

While legitimate interest provides a lawful basis for data processing, organizations must ensure that their activities comply with the overarching GDPR principles, foreseen under Article 5:


Personal data shall be:


processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner in relation to the data subject (‘lawfulness, fairness and transparency’);


collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes…


adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed (‘data minimisation’);


accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date;… 


kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the personal data are processed; … (‘storage limitation’);


processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data (‘integrity and confidentiality’).




Legitimate Interest and Data Subject Rights

Despite relying on legitimate interest, organizations must respect the data subject’s rights. Individuals retain the right to access their personal data, rectify inaccuracies, erase data under certain conditions (right to be forgotten), restrict processing, and object to processing based on legitimate interest.




Examples of Legitimate Interest as Outlined by Regulations


ABC Corporation operates retail outlets, financial institutions, and technology centers across different regions. The corporation handles sensitive customer data, financial transactions, and valuable assets, making security a top priority. Ensuring the safety of employees, customers, and assets is crucial for maintaining trust and operational efficiency.


Rationale for Video Surveillance:


  • Security Threats: Recent incidents of theft, vandalism, and unauthorized access pose significant risks to ABC Corporation’s operations and assets.


  • Safety Concerns: Ensuring the safety of employees and customers within the premises is a priority for the company.


  • Regulatory Compliance: Compliance with local laws and regulations regarding security and privacy is essential for ABC Corporation’s operations.


Data processing justification:


  • Protection of Assets: Video surveillance helps deter theft, vandalism, and unauthorized access, thus safeguarding ABC Corporation’s assets, including merchandise, equipment, and intellectual property.


  • Risk Mitigation: By monitoring premises in real-time and reviewing footage, the company can identify security breaches promptly, minimizing potential losses and liabilities.


  • Safety Enhancement: Video surveillance contributes to creating a safe environment for employees and customers by deterring criminal activities and assisting in emergency response situations.


  • Legal Compliance: ABC Corporation ensures compliance with relevant data protection laws, such as GDPR, by implementing necessary safeguards, including data encryption, access controls, and retention policies.


Implementation Plan:


  • Strategic Placement: Video cameras will be strategically installed in high-risk areas, such as entrances, exits, cash registers, and storage facilities, while respecting individuals’ privacy rights.



  • Notice and Consent: ABC Corporation will provide clear signage informing individuals about the presence of video surveillance on its premises and obtain consent when required by law.



  • Data Security Measures: The company will implement robust data security measures to protect the integrity and confidentiality of surveillance footage, including encryption, access controls, and regular audits.



  • Employee Training: Employees will receive training on the appropriate use of video surveillance systems, data handling procedures, and privacy regulations to ensure compliance and responsible monitoring practices.




ABC Corporation demonstrates a legitimate interest in deploying video surveillance systems to enhance security, protect assets, and ensure the safety of employees and customers within its premises. By implementing appropriate safeguards and compliance measures, the company upholds ethical standards and respects individuals’ privacy rights while mitigating security risks effectively.




Legitimate Interest Template (LIA)



What is Not Legitimate Interest under GDPR?

Certain activities do not fall within the scope of legitimate interest under GDPR, including:


Processing for purely commercial interests without considering individuals’ rights.


Processing based solely on the organization’s convenience or profit motives.


Activities involving sensitive personal data, such as health information or biometric data, without explicit consent or another legal basis.


In conclusion, legitimate interest under GDPR provides organizations with a flexible legal basis for processing personal data, subject to stringent requirements and adherence to individuals’ rights. While it offers valuable opportunities for data processing, organizations must conduct thorough assessments, ensure transparency, and prioritize data subjects’ rights and freedoms. Compliance with GDPR’s principles remains paramount, fostering a culture of accountability, trust, and respect for privacy in the digital age.




Do you need to verify whether your company is fully compliant with data protection laws?


Focus on your business and keep your compliance documents up-to-date with Seifti:


We provide you with GDPR consultancy and audit services, with all your data processing activities.


Our team will validate that your company’s current data protection policies and procedures are fully compliant.


Also, our experts will help you define the subject rights workflows to avoid issues with the Data Protection Authorities.


If you need further information, do not hesitate in contacting us!


No Comments

Post a Comment

Skip to content