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Data Protection

Justice written question – answered on 27th June 2012.

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Photo of David Davis David Davis Conservative, Haltemprice and Howden

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what categories of data will be shared between the UK and other EU member states as a result of the Government's decision not to opt out of the Proposal on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences (COM 2012 10).

Photo of Kenneth Clarke Kenneth Clarke The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice

Article 3 of the proposed directive sets out the categories of data that fall within the definition of data subject. Accordingly, ‘data subject' can mean any person who can be identified by a data controller or by any other person by reference to one of the following characteristics: identification number, location data, online identifiers or one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that person. In this context ‘personal data' means any information relating to a data subject.

Article 8 sets out provisions relating to processing of special categories of personal data. This provides that member states are prohibited from processing personal data that reveals race or ethnic origin, political opinions, religion or beliefs, trade union membership, of genetic data or of data concerning health or sex life, except where the following apply:

the processing is authorised by a law providing appropriate safeguards; or the processing is necessary to protect the vital interests of the data subject or of another person; or the processing relates to data which are manifestly made public by the data subject.

The current arrangements under the 2008 Council Framework Decision on the protection of personal data processed in the framework of police and judicial co-operation in criminal matters allow for the processing of special categories of data only to the extent that the processing is strictly necessary and where the national law provides adequate safeguards.

Therefore, the draft directive does not require the UK to share any categories of data that are not already being shared. Rather, it proposes new rules for how that sharing should happen.

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