European Parliament adopts new data protection laws for LGBT people

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The European Parliament today adopted new data protection laws which will protect private information relating to sexual orientation and gender identity.

Several amendments were adopted to two new laws, at first reading, which aim to extend data protection cover to stop discrimination based on private information.

MEPs specified that “the processing of personal data, revealing race or ethnic origin, political opinions, religion or philosophical beliefs, sexual orientation or gender identity … shall be prohibited”.

Some narrow exceptions are expected.

The new rules adopted today add that profiling individuals based on their personal characteristics, “shall be prohibited” when it “has the effect of discriminating against individuals on the basis of race or ethnic origin, political opinions, religion or beliefs, trade union membership, sexual orientation or gender identity”.

Data protection had previously been regulated by a 1995 directive, which has now been deemed inappropriate for the ever-increasing amount of personal data. The European Commission proposed the new framework in the form of a directive and a regulation.

Jan Albrecht MEP, Member of the LGBT Intergroup and author of the resolution adopted today, said: “The Charter of Fundamental Rights clearly establishes individuals’ right to see their personal data protected, and this new regulation does just that.”

“It’s crucially important that individuals don’t see their personal characteristics used against their will—including sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Sirpa Pietikäinen MEP, Vice-President of the LGBT Intergroup and spokesperson for ALDE on this resolution, added: “I’m extremely happy these new rules explicitly mention sexual orientation and gender identity. National governments must now follow the Parliament’s lead, and show they value their citizens’ personal data.”

The Council of the European Union, gathering the EU’s 28 national governments, must now adopt its own amendments to the proposals.