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Data protection in the EU, an update

We know that many IEA members follow the development in Europe – not only European members. Rules for data protection, privacy, freedom of speech and freedom of research are all of fundamental importance for our possibilities to practice epidemiologic research wherever we work. We have covered this area over the past several months and this is just to bring you up to date.

The text on data protection for the EU is being debated and it is clear that several changes will be made. It is currently unclear whether we end up with a directive or a regulation. A directive will provide more flexibility for individual countries in how they practice the law. A regulation imposes a common law for all member states. By November 2012 6 countries support a ‘directive mode’. Not quite enough to avoid that a regulation will be implemented by parliament but many countries have not yet made their position clear. There are other part of the text being debated so the battle is far from over and we still run a risk of having less options for doing research after new legislation has been agreed upon next year.

We attach an important  position paperwritten by cancer epidemiologists. As usual they have been more active and better organized.

— Jørn Olsen, Shah Ebrahim, Neil Pearce, Cesar Victora

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