Genetic Data: The Achilles' Heel of the GDPR?

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Thanks to the latest developments in genetic sequencing technologies, today, we are able to process vast amounts of genetic data and extract information thereof more than what we could imagine a decade ago. Once subjected to sequencing and informatic analysis, genetic data reveal crucial information not only about the data subjects but also other individuals with whom the data subjects exhibit similar genetic architecture. Because of this, genetic data processing poses challenges for fundamental rights and freedoms at the individual and group level. Hence, this article examines whether genetic groups can be protected within the European data protection framework. To address this issue, the article applies several interpretation methods to the most critical notions and provisions of the GDPR that could potentially provide protection for these groups. Overall, this article concludes that regardless of the interpretation, the GDPR either expands the scope of its protection to the extent that causes ambiguous, contradictory and disproportionate outcomes or excludes genetic groups from the scope of its protection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-58
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Data Protection Law Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • genetic privacy
  • genetic groups
  • GDPR
  • genetic data
  • gdpr
  • Data Protection
  • data protection law


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