“Spam or not?!” or About the Obligations of State Authorities

13. 4. 2016

Rather an interesting, and somewhat absurd perhaps, issue has recently been solved by the Supreme Administrative Court of the Czech Republic (namely, judicial decision ref. no. 9 As 223/2015 - 35). The case concerned a submission (a request for information in accordance with the Law on Free Access to Information in this particular case), which was assessed by the electronic gateway of an administrative body's mailbox as an undesired business email message – SPAM.And it was this fatally wrong assessment which fundamentally affected the very content of the request as the administration officials never received it since the submission was deemed undelivered. Firstly, the Claimant pressed administrative charges in a matter of inactivity against the office in question which were dismissed by the Municipal Court in Prague; after this, a cassation appeal was lodged with the Supreme Administrative Court.

The Court decidedly claimed that the assessment process of whether a message can be potentially harmful or classified as SPAM may not be solely left to decide to the spam filters of the gateway; the employees of the administrative office to which the message has been delivered must be actively involved, too.

This decision provides at least a certain level of protection for us that submissions to authorities we make will not be automatically discarded or ignored. It is, however, recommendable to pay attention to the e-mail address you use when you send such messages.

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