Consent for data processing under the General Data Protection Regulation: Could ‘dynamic consent’ be a useful tool for researchers?
Prictor M., Teare HJA., Bel J., Taylor M., Kaye J.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) sets the bar high for consent for the processing of personal data. In the UK, researchers have been directed to rely on legal bases other than consent for processing personal data for research purposes. Informed consent, nonetheless, and despite certain shortcomings, holds a central position in ethical research practice, as well as at common law, and in a range of other legislation dealing with research involving humans. This paper evaluates the place of informed consent in research following the GDPR’s implementation, arguing that a fresh approach to consent — specifically the concept known as ‘dynamic consent’ — could provide a way for researchers to meet the new European regulatory requirements for data processing while adhering to the highest ethical standards for research conduct. It analyses dynamic consent according to specific GDPR requirements and reflects on practical examples that could inform future implementation of the approach, while remaining aware of the need for further empirical research.