Metro Weekly

European Parliament adopts new data protection laws protecting LGBT people

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The European Parliament has adopted new data protection laws that seek to better protect the private information of an individual pertaining to their sexual orientation and gender identity, the Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT rights announced today.

Until today’s new law, data protection in the EU was regulated by a 1995 directive considered wildly outdated given the extreme advancements in the proliferation of personal data in the past 20 years. While the new law includes many provisions and amendments to better protect the online identities of EU citizens, it included an amendment specifically related to LGBT people. MEPs specified in article 9 of the regulation 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.”

The issue of profiling, which can often be offensive to those unwilling to disclose their sexuality or specify a particular gender, has also been addressed. From today, classifying individuals based on personal characteristics, according to article 20, “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.”

Vice President of the LGBT Intergroup, Sirpa Pietikäinen MEP (Member of the European Parliament), commented on the new law, stating “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.”

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Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's online editor. He can be reached at rmarr@metroweekly.com.

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