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Ethnic Data Collection: Key Elements, Rules and Principles

  • Jozefien Van Caeneghem
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter focuses on the key elements, rules and principles that govern ethnic data collection. It explains that, despite strong encouragement by international and European actors to use this human rights tool for equality and anti-discrimination purposes, States often hide behind an all-too restricted or faulty interpretation of the applicable data protection rules to collect such data. Due consideration is given to the context-dependency of the notions race and ethnicity and the challenges this poses to the definition of racial and ethnic origin for data collection purposes. It is highlighted that the determination of ethnic origin involves both objective and subjective criteria. Furthermore, this chapter expands on the general and special data protection rules contained in the data protection frameworks established, at the levels of the Council of Europe and the European Union, in order to demonstrate that they allow for the collection and processing of sensitive data on racial or ethnic origin, provided that certain conditions are respected and that appropriate safeguards are put in place to prevent misuse of the data and to respect the rights and fundamental freedom of data subjects. It also considers the inclusion of the protection of personal data in the right to private life in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The chapter concludes with the identification of five operational and organisational principles that help to reduce the risk that sensitive data, which has been collected or processed, are misused.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jozefien Van Caeneghem
    • 1
  1. 1.BrusselsBelgium

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