Habeas data and patient self-determination


In the digital era, the rising of new rights that redefine the very integrity of the person and legitimize their protection, especially in the field of health, calls for a reflection on the transition from habeas corpus to habeas data. The ancient habeas corpus, personal freedom understood as physical freedom, is now also a habeas data, in terms of digital freedom and the protection of personal information about the physical body. In this passage, the traditional legal culture clashes with the emergence of an information and knowledge society in which full and objective correspondence with constitutional concepts and rules is lacking. This is also happening in the health sector. Information in the medical field is an essential element, indispensable to be able to prepare the right treatment. The physician can collect, organize, and interpret patient data for the most correct diagnosis possible. Medical science, therefore, is information "from" the patient and "about" the patient, which is objectified through the computerised aggregation of the data of everyone undergoing medical treatment. Medical information becomes health data when it is processed, transforming it into a documental element of a digital nature. This article aims to give a theoretical contextualization of the concepts of habeas data, self-determination in the digital field and the issues related to informed consent and access to personal data.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i25327518v4i2p49

Keywords: Habeas data; self-determination; information; access; informed consent

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