Science threatened by privacy?

Nieuws | de redactie
6 oktober 2014 | The League of European Research Universities (LERU) expresses serious concern at amendments made by the European Parliament to the European General Data Protection Regulation. Wellmeaning regulations now threaten the use of data for knowledge.

LERU calls upon the Council of Ministers to oppose the amendments that would be highly detrimental for scientific research, in particular amendments to Article 81 and Article 83. In view of the upcoming Justice and Home Affairs Council LERU reiterates its rejection to the amendments adopted by the European Parliament Civil Liberties, Justice and Home AffairsCommittee.

The League urges the Council of Ministers to bring into the negotiations on the legislative reform of the Data Protection Package a position that duly respects the interests of the research community, in line with the European Commission´s original proposal of 25 January 2012. In a statement published by the Wellcome Trust it was stressed already that, if the European Parliament´s amendments to Articles 81 and 83 to the Data Protection Regulation are taken forward, health and scientific research will be threatened.

“Projects are endangered”

Prof Kurt Deketelaere, Secretary-General LERU, expresses his worries: “If the Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs are not able to undo these EP amendments, significant research projects and programs, including several funded and/or set up by the EC, are endangered! Protection of privacy is justified, of course, but one has to be aware of too far reaching measures, which will put European researchers in a clearly disadvantageous position compared to colleagues worldwide.”

The restrictions introduced by the amendments will affect research using data concerning health as well the processing for historical, statistical or scientific research purposes. The amendments adopted by the European Parliament will not only be highly detrimental for medical research, they will also have pernicious consequences for scientific research as a whole. To preserve privacy, safeguards for the use of personal data already exist and introducing specific consent for the use of data will seriously hinder research to the point of making it impracticable.

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