EU frees up data for science

European Parliament amendments to the privacy law earlier this year riled scientists Scientists in Europe have won a major battle over access to personal health data. A research coalition had worried that draft European Union (EU) legislation would have sharply restricted scientific use of such data. This week, however, scientist-friendly amendments emerged from negotiations between the European Parliament, the European Council, and the European Commission. “We are delighted with the outcome,” says Beth Thompson, a policy advisor at the Wellcome Trust who helped organize a months-long campaign to persuade politicians and officials to revise the legislation. The “compromise solution,” she says, “works for both the research community and the people.” Three years ago, scientists had embraced the European Commission’s initial draft of the legislation, which strives to harmonize privacy rules…

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