Processing ‘special categories’ of personal data

All personal data is not the same, and some information is more sensitive than others. As such special rules apply when processing these ‘special categories’ of personal data.  Special categories’ of personal data include:

  • Racial or ethnic origin;
  • Political opinions;
  • Religious and philosophical beliefs;
  • Trade union membership;
  • Genetic data;
  • Biometric data for the purpose of uniquely identifying a natural person; and
  • Sex life/sexual orientation.

Processing of these types of personal data is prohibited unless one of the conditions below applies (in addition to a condition from paragraph 6):

  • The citizen has given explicit consent to the processing
  • It is necessary for the purposes of carrying out the obligations and exercising specific rights of the Council or of the citizen in the field of employment and social security and social protection law.  (For example employee equal opportunities data)
  • Processing is necessary to protect the vital interests of the citizen or of another natural person, where the citizen is physically or legally incapable of giving consent. (For example a life or death situation)
  • Processing is carried out by a not-for-profit entity with a political, philosophical, and religious or trade union aim in the course of its legitimate activities
  • Processing relates to personal data which is manifestly made public by the citizen. (The personal data is already in the public domain)
  • Processing is necessary for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims
  • Processing is permitted where it is necessary for reasons of substantial public interest.  (For example a natural disaster)
  • Processing is necessary for the purposes of preventive or occupational medicine, for the assessment of the working capacity of the employee, medical diagnosis, the provision of health or social care or treatment. (Medical treatment)
  • Processing is necessary for reasons of public interest in the area of public health, such as protecting against serious cross-border threats to health (such as foot and mouth disease); and
  • Processing is necessary for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes.
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