Data Protection Regulation seems far away from consensus

The ongoing discussions on the Data Protection Regulation has come under close scrutiny from Science Business, an online magazine widely read by policy makers in Brussels.

The article features interesting elements related to the use of patients’ data as well as broad consent.

On the topic of patients’ data,

  • Researchers and businesses are concerned about the debate over patient consent to reuse of data in medical research and the so-called ‘right to be forgotten’. Quoting Vice-President of the European Commission Viviane Reding, the author further claims the lack of trust from consumers could hinder innovative research and burden businesses.

On the topic of research,

  • The Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee asserted that sensitive data for scientific research purposes is not as urgent or compelling as public health or social protection, even though the Commission had proposed an exemption in that field.
  • On the other side, Sean Kelly MEP (EPP, Ireland), Rapporteur for the Industry, Research and Energy Committee’s opinion, supports a more research-friendly definition by introducing a broad consent option.

The concept of broad consent is among the ones that have been specifically endorsed by VPH in the VPH position paper on the Data Protection Regulation.

On the so-called ‘right to be forgotten’,

  • Many consider it impossible to implement, such as Jan Philipp Albrecht MEP (Green/EFA, The Netherlands) and Nigel Shadbolt, Chairman and Co-Founder of the UK’s Open Data Institute.
  • The Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee as well as the Healthcare Coalition for Data Protection (which represent various interest groups) claim the right to be forgotten should not apply to healthcare, in order to ensure the best care and treatment possible.

Other obstacles could hinder reaching to a consensus in the future, such as the cost of compliance to the new Regulation, and the fact that eight Member States including the UK, Belgium and Denmark suggest the rules would be better suited as a directive rather than a regulation.

All of this comes in the backdrop of the recent US ‘PRISM’ scandal, which is likely to embolden those in favor of stricter data protection rules. The latest revelations on the NSA programme could very well impact on the evolution of the dossier.



Date: 05/07/2013 | Tag: | News: 168 of 632
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