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Halford v. U.K. [ 1997] I.R.L.R. 471

Facts: the applicant was Ms. Halford, an employee whose telephone calls from her office were intercepted by her employer and in the Merseyside Police Headquarters and used against her in a sex discrimination case.  

Complaint: the applicant claimed that the interception of her telephone calls at her office constituted a violation of Articles 8 and 13 of the European Convention.

Holding: the ECHR found a violation of the applicant' rights to private life.

Reasoning: the ECHR opted for a broad application scope of the right of privacy , by stating that the notion of "private life" covers private, business, public or any other environment. Public information could fall within the scope of private life where it was systematically collected and stored in files held by the authorities. The applicant had a reasonable expectation of privacy in telephone conversations conducted on office phones. While phone tapping and other forms of interception of telephone conversations represent a serious interference with the Article 8 right to a private life, the ECHR has acknowledged that the Convention does not necessarily afford adequate safeguards against possible abuses.


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