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Open Access From Privacy to Data Protection in the EU: Implications for Big Data Health Research

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From Privacy to Data Protection in the EU: Implications for Big Data Health Research

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The right to privacy has usually been considered as the most prominent fundamental right to protect in data-intensive (Big Data) health research. Within the European Union (EU), however, the right to data protection is gaining relevance as a separate fundamental right that should in particular be protected by data protection law. This paper discusses three differences between these two fundamental rights, which are relevant to data-intensive health research. Firstly, the rights based on the right to data protection are of a less context-sensitive nature and easier to enforce. Secondly, the positive obligation to protect personal data requires a more proactive approach by the EU and its Member States. Finally, it guarantees a more comprehensive system of personal data protection. In conclusion, we argue that a comprehensive system of data protection, including research-specific safeguards, is essential to compensate for the loss of individual control in data-intensive health research.

The right to privacy has usually been considered as the most prominent fundamental right to protect in data-intensive (Big Data) health research. Within the European Union (EU), however, the right to data protection is gaining relevance as a separate fundamental right that should in particular be protected by data protection law. This paper discusses three differences between these two fundamental rights, which are relevant to data-intensive health research. Firstly, the rights based on the right to data protection are of a less context-sensitive nature and easier to enforce. Secondly, the positive obligation to protect personal data requires a more proactive approach by the EU and its Member States. Finally, it guarantees a more comprehensive system of personal data protection. In conclusion, we argue that a comprehensive system of data protection, including research-specific safeguards, is essential to compensate for the loss of individual control in data-intensive health research.

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/content/journals/10.1163/15718093-12460346
2017-12-11
2018-02-26

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