Airport temperature checks break data privacy laws, watchdog says

Airport temperature checks break data privacy laws, watchdog says
Credit: Belga

The temperature checks imposed on passengers at Brussels Airport are prohibited by Belgium's and the EU's data privacy laws, Belgium's data privacy watchdog said.

In an online statement, Belgium's Data Protection Authority (GBA/APB) said laws did not allow airports to harvest and process people's health data with the use of advanced technology.

In order to resume air travel, Brussels Airport imposed mandatory body temperature checks to all passengers entering the terminal.

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The checks are carried out through body temperature cameras which are also able to detect whether a passenger is wearing a face mask, which is mandatory in the terminal and onboard a plane.

Any traveller who has a temperature above 38ºC has to go through a second check and fill up a questionnaire. On the first day of border reopening on Monday, one traveller was denied boarding on the basis of the temperature check.

The GBA's president, David Stevens, called on the airport to provide information about the legal basis they were using.

He also called for legislation to be adapted quickly if airport and authorities believed that the current context justified the measure.

"If authorities believe that, in view of the exceptional nature of the crisis, such systems should be in place for as long as the crisis lasts, we request them to adopt legislation enabling this type of data processing," Stevens said, adding that laws could be passed "quite quickly."

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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