The conflicts between the Whistleblower Protection Directive and the GDPR – COVID-19, a legal basis to infringe on the rights of the data subject in order to secure the protection of whistleblowers?
Abstract: On the 7th of October 2019, the Council of Europe published a press release, “Better protection of whistle-blowers: new EU-wide rules to kick in in 2021”. In the press release, the Council of Europe stated that a new directive, the Whistleblower Protection Directive, would increase protection of whistle-blowers. At the same time, companies and authorities were still struggling with the complicated regulations of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The question that caught my attention to the subject was therefore, would it be possible to work in compliance with both the Whistleblower Protection Directive and the GDPR? My research questions are; 1. What are the conflicts between the Whistleblower Protection Directive regarding reporting channels and the GDPR? 2. What are the conflicts between the Whistleblower Protection Directive regarding investigations and the GDPR? 3. Is it possible for companies to work in compliance with both the Whistleblower Protection Directive and the GDPR? 3.(a) If the third question is answered in the affirmative, how shall they act? When investigating the conflicting articles, it is clear that they protect two different interests. On the one hand, the whistleblowers that otherwise may suffer from retaliation. On the other hand, the data subjects that otherwise may have their personal data unjustly collected and processed. Through the thesis I highlight five different conflicts. These are presented descriptively and analysed continuously together with literature, reports and articles. The majority of the conflicts are solved by prioritizing the protection of whistleblowers due to public interest. COVID-19 is one example that I use to show how crises like pandemics prove that anti-corruption is in the public interest.
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