June 16, 2020

On 16 June 2020,  the CONNEXIONs project was represented by the the University of Vienna (UNIVIE) and the Centre for Research and Technology-Hellas (CERTH) at the European Commission follow-up workshop on ‘research data in fighting crime and terrorism - ethical and legal clarifications’. The workshop comprised of legal and ethics experts from DG Home as well as legal and ethics project partners from 27 different EU research projects on law enforcement. Prior to the workshop, all partners were asked to send their legal and ethical questions to their coordinator, whereupon the questions from all 27 projects made up the content of the workshop.

The workshop began by providing clarifications regarding the process of ethics approvals and ethics committees, as well as the procedure for the occurrence of incidental findings during the course of research projects and the various responsibilities of project partners in this instance.

Regarding data protection and privacy, the workshop affirmed the clear distinction between the legal requirements for operational use of personal data (under Directive 2016/680), and the use of personal data during the course of the project (under the GDPR). Further, the workshop discussed the legal bases available for the processing of personal data within EU research projects, in addition to the expectations of the data subject and how such expectations should be approached from a legal standpoint. For example, whether the expectation of privacy differs between data subjects whose data is publically available on social media platforms in comparison to the dark web. Emphasis was also placed on how partners should implement the appropriate security measures when processing personal data, as well as examples of anonymisation and pseudonymisation techniques.

During the course of the workshop, partners were then encouraged to ask further questions, which were answered throughout. UNIVIE has since proceeded to send additional questions to the workshop speakers to obtain further clarifications on legal and ethical considerations necessary in the CONNEXIONs project.

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