Sensitive personal data is extra special data about people that should not be used indiscriminately. Sensitive personal data is very sensitive and therefore, in principle, should not be processed under the GDPR.

Sensitive personal data is data about, for example, people's background (ethnicity), what they believe (religion), their health and genetic data, their political views, their sexual orientation and their trade union membership. It is important to protect this kind of data. Sometimes there are exceptions and you are allowed to use sensitive data. Here are a few examples:

  • You have obtained permission from the person about whom the information is about to process the sensitive personal data;
  • You have to comply with certain obligations in the field of employment (labour law), insurance (social security law) and social security (social protection law);
  • You are trying to protect someone's life (e.g. doctors need to process data to arrange the best care for their patients);
  • You are a non-profit political, religious or trade union group. You may then process the sensitive personal data in line with the purpose of your non-profit organisation;
  • If the data has already been made public, by the person the information is about, you may use it;
  • You have to prepare for a lawsuit or you start a lawsuit;
  • You have a very important reason, also called a substantial public interest. You must then be able to explain why it is so important;
  • You want to prevent your employees from falling ill or you want to assess whether someone is fit for work;
  • In the context of public health, you want to prevent certain diseases from crossing borders or you want to guarantee the quality and safety of medicines;
  • You want to keep data for archiving in the public interest, for scientific research, for historical research or for statistics.

It is important to be careful with sensitive personal data. You should only use it if it is really necessary and if you have a good reason for doing so.

  • Created 06-07-2023
  • Last Edited 06-07-2023
  • Subject Using data
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