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New Legal Challenges: New EC Privacy Regulation. Data Preservation and Data Sharing in Danger?

Presenter 1
Vigdis Kvalheim
Norwegian Social Science Data Services (NSD)

On January 25th the European Commission published its proposal for a new European Data Protection Regulation. In December the European Parliament published its proposed amendments to the EC draft. The proposed regulation will replace the 1995 Data Protection Directive. The new EC regulation will affect large areas of European research, and how it subsquently will be implemented and practiced, is of great interest to European researchers as wel as research infrastructures. The amendments proposed by the parliament include restrictive proposals for historical, statistical and scientific purposes. The reactions in the academic community across Europe have therefore been that of surprise and deep concern, in particular with the possible negative impacts on register based research and the possibilities for long-term preservation and data sharing across Europe. The old Directive from 1995 was not drafted with research interest in mind, but following an extensive consultation procedure that resulted in systematic submissions and political actions from several key players in the research sector, it nevertheless contains several important exemption provisions for scientific purposes. Today EC regulation affords research a privileged position in order to meet and highlight the research sector's legitimate need to process personal data. For empirical research across Europe it is crucial that the research exemptions are continued and if possible improved in the new Regulation. In DASISH WP6 we focus on legal and ethical issues, constraints and requirement for data use, data preservation and sharing for all types of data in the SSH domain. In that  context the proposed legal framework and how it balances the interest in privacy and research is important. In this presentation we look at this balance and how it may shift in favor of privacy if the amendments proposed by the European Parliament are implemented in its present form. We go on to argue that this may have unintended consequences for research and its contribution to society.

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