Special category data is personal information that needs more protection because it is sensitive. There are nine special categories of personal information. They are information that relates to:
– race, racial and ethnic origin;
– political opinions;
– religious or philosophical beliefs;
– trade union membership;
– genetic data;
– biometric data such as fingerprints, eye scanners, but only where it’s being used for identification purposes;
– health information;
– a person’s sex life or sexual orientation.

Special category information includes information revealing or concerning the above types of information. So, if it’s inferred or guessed about someone, that data may count as special category data.

To be able to process special category data, you have to have an additional condition in place. The additional conditions are:
– Explicit consent. That’s a different standard from normal consent.
– Employment, Social Security and social protection, usually required when the individual is an employee.
– Vital interests of the individual.
– Not for profit bodies. Where the charity is related to the special category information. For example, a Jewish charity collects religious beliefs because it is a religious based charity.
– Already made public by the individual
– Legal claims or judicial acts.
– Public interest, but there has to be a basis in law for it so you should be able to cite what the lawful basis is.
– Health or social care with a basis in law.
– Public health, with a basis in law, or
– Archiving, research and statistics with a basis in law.

The majority of special category data collection will probably require explicit consent, employment or vital interests.

With the special category information, you have to be able to evidence that you have one of those additional controls in place to collect that information. If you need some help, please contact us.