The Naturalization-Privacy Interface: Publication of Personal Data of New European Union Citizens versus European Privacy Standards

Dimitry Kochenov*, Oskar Josef Gstrein, Jacquelyn Veraldi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

At present, there is great variance in the law and practice concerning the publication of personal data of newly naturalized citizens across the European Union Member States, affecting a million individuals annually. Depending on the extent of the personal details made available, publishing the fact that an individual has naturalized can have negative repercussions in that individual’s state of naturalization or his state of other/prior nationality. While some European states publish personal details in their official journals to some extent, twelve do not do so at all. In recent years, several countries have amended their legislation or re-assessed publication practices in response to the growing awareness of the importance of data protection concerns. This article analyzes the current Member State practices in this field, focusing in particular on data protection rules for naturalization in Ireland, France, and Latvia. This analysis documents the emergence of a clear trend toward the development of a more critical approach to the publication of personal data, which was previously the unquestioned default. The article subsequently investigates the possibility of identifying a legal standard that could be used to determine whether a more coherent approach to regulating the issue of publishing personal data of naturalized citizens can be deduced. In the EU context, it finds that such publication practices may fall within the scope of the EU General Data Protection Regulation. In the context of Council of Europe law, the principles of the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data undoubtedly apply. U.N. instruments, by contrast, appear de facto inapplicable. The article concludes with a set of recommendations for what information should be published and how, emphasizing that public authorities should carefully scrutinize and potentially reconsider their strategies managing the publication of personal data upon naturalization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-283
Number of pages46
JournalHouston Journal of International Law
Volume42
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1-Jul-2020

Keywords

  • GDPR
  • Privacy
  • Citizenship
  • EU Law
  • Naturalization
  • European citizenship

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