EDPS issues orientations on temperatures checks by EU institutions

Acknowledging that body temperature checks conducted systematically as part of health and safety measures adopted to prevent spread of COVID-19 contamination may interfere into individuals’ rights to private life and data protection, European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) issued on 01.09.2020 orientations on proper practices to be applied by EU institutions in this regard. Although EU institutions are subject solely to Regulation (EU) 2018/ 1725 on processing of personal data by the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and on the free movement of such data, instead of the GDPR, said orientations provide generally applicable useful guidelines.

The EU’s institutional data protection watchdog notes that temperature checks performed with basic temperature measurement devices which do not present any recording feature and are not followed by registration or documentation of the measurement  are not subject to the scope of application of Regulation (EU)2018/ 1725; whilst temperature checks operated in the aforementioned manner but followed by registration of the measurement, as well as checks combined with identity checks and checks conducted automatically by means of advanced devices (e.g. thermal cameras and thermal scans) do fall within its ambit. With regard to the latter case, EDPS calls for caution in using fully automated checks systems and encourages meaningful human involvement in the process in the event that such checks are carried out on a mandatory basis. 

Finally, the EDPS stresses the importance of implementing adequate data protection safeguards, achieving transparency through relevant information signs and providing for follow-up process in case of positive results, while highlighting the need of regularly assessing the necessity and proportionality of such measures, in light of the evolution of the epidemic and its scientific understanding.

Finally, the EDPS stresses the importance of implementing adequate data protection safeguards, achieving transparency through relevant information signs and providing for follow-up process in case of positive results, while highlighting the need of regularly assessing the necessity and proportionality of such measures, in light of the evolution of the epidemic and its scientific understanding.KG’s GDPR and Privacy Team are available and ready to provide you with support.