Thursday, May 18, 2006

Art. 29 Working Party to investigate the processing of personal data in the health insurance sector

According to the latest press release (pdf), the Art. 29 Working Party is launching an investigation into the processing of personal data in the private health sector early March 2006. The principal aim is to 'analyse whether and how the data protection regulations are being complied with in the private health insurance sector across the EU.'

The investigation will be carried out through a questionnaire which is the same for each EU Member State, with questions focused on six areas in which data processing plays a particularly important role. The responses received will be evaluated both at national and at EU level. Based on the results, the Article 29 Working Party could subsequently decide to issue practical guidance for the sector at large and identify areas for future action with a view to improving compliance in the least burdensome way.

One awaits to see the results of these developments. One would not be surprised with the varied approaches adopted by each member state towards the protection of personal data in the private health sector, taking into account that data relating to the health of the data subject constitutes the processing of "sensitive data" as defined under Art. 8 of the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC. Therefore, stricter measures are imposed under Art. 8 when processing such data.

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