IST Programme RESPECT: an IST Programme Project
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RESPECT for confidentiality: summary


When drafting these guidelines, the authors had to take into consideration the fact that data protection is regulated by law and that, beyond the general recommendations that can be given to the researchers, the latter are obliged to comply with the relevant applicable law(s).

This document has been drafted taking into account Directive 95/46/CE and the national legislation of most of the current Member States of the European Union (the Member States) that implement it (the national legislations).

These guidelines do not include a review of the existing legislation regarding the processing and disclosure of company-specific data, such as trade secrets, that might be protected by law. After examination of the possibility to extend the scope of these guidelines to such kinds of data, the RESPECT partners concluded that this was not feasible in the framework of this project.

This document does not provide an exhaustive description of the legal regimes in force in all Member States. Indeed, only the English version of the national laws in force and available (at the beginning of 2003) have been taken into consideration. It is possible that recent modifications and/or secondary legislation have not (yet) been translated and published.

The present guidelines do not detail the existing legislation, other than the data protection statutes. Nevertheless, other legal sources can also be relevant when processing personal data in the framework of research projects. For instance, the present guidelines do not detail the Member States’ laws regarding processing of data provided by national institutes of statistics, or the laws implementing Directives 97/66/CE and 2002/58/CE regarding data protection in the telecommunication and electronic communication fields.

Given the existing divergences between national laws, the authors, with the agreement of the other RESPECT partners, have decided to devise these guidelines as a tool that can be used by researchers to better understand EU data protection legislation.

For reasons of briefness and simplification, these guidelines cannot help with accuracy for each concrete situation. Therefore, they cannot replace the advice of national experts.