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Under the 1998 Data Protection Act, special category data is very similar to sensitive personal data. To allow for new technologies under GDPR this now also includes genetic and some biometric data. The other change is that it does not include personal data relating to criminal offences and convictions, which has a different provision under GDPR.

You will need to determine your lawful basis for processing any special category or sensitive data and you will also need to meet the most appropriate condition under article 9, for processing this type of personal data. This could be:

Gaining explicit consent for processing sensitive data or special category data from the data subject. An example of this could be a beautician who is processing data relating to treatments and services provided and they have decided that they process this data using “Contract” as their lawful basis.

They may also need to ask for medical information for some treatments, and they may gaining explicit consent to do so by asking their customers to complete and sign a form.

There are many other conditions which are related to organisations dealing with both public health and public interest which will not apply to most businesses and a full list is available to download from the student dashboard of this course.

Processing of Personal data relating to criminal offences or convictions no longer comes under special category data. There is now separate measures and safeguards relating to this and security measures which are set out in article 10.

What this means is to process personal data about criminal offences or convictions, you must have both a lawful basis and either legal authority or official authority for processing and you need to comply with Article 10, which is the processing of criminal data. Organisations that are involved would require a higher level of training that is beyond the scope of this course, so if you think this may relate to you or if you would like more information this can be found on the ICO website at www.ico.org.uk