Sep 06

Data Subject Rights in Automated Processing and Profiling: Ensuring Transparency and Fairness

In the ever-evolving landscape of data protection, automated processing and profiling have emerged as critical areas of concern within the framework of data subject rights. In this intro, we delve into automated decision-making, explore profiling, and emphasize the importance of maintaining transparency and fairness in these processes under the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Automated Decision-Making

The rules on automated decision-making, a cornerstone of GDPR’s data subject rights, highlights the intersection of technology and human involvement. It refers to applying technological means to make determinations, without human intervention. Whether influenced by profiling or not, these automated decisions carry far-reaching implications for individuals’ rights, privacy, and well-being.

The nature of Profiling

Profiling is a practice where you analyse personal data to evaluate various aspects of an individual’s life. Profiling can be about things like work performance, economic status, health, personal preferences, and behavioural patterns. In data protection, it embodies a trilogy of attributes: automation, the utilization of personal data, and the evaluation of specific personal characteristics.

Balancing Act: Prohibitions and Exceptions

Within the jurisdictions of the EU and the UK, the GDPR enforces a nuanced dance between prohibitions and exceptions regarding automated decision-making. While the regulation restricts fully automated decisions that yield legal or similarly significant effects, it also carves out specific scenarios where exceptions apply:

  1. Contractual Obligations: Automated decisions may be permitted if it is necessary for entering into or fulfilling contractual obligations between the data subject and the organization.
  2. Legal Authorization: Under certain circumstances, relevant laws may authorize automated decisions, provided adequate measures are in place to safeguard data subject rights and freedoms.
  3. Explicit Consent: Where data subjects explicitly consent to the automated decision-making process, it may be permissible.

Automated decision-making and profiling with significant effects is expansive, spanning diverse domains such as financial considerations, access to healthcare, employment opportunities, and educational access. One crucial aspect of this complex process is the periodic review and evaluation of profiling algorithms to ensure fairness, the absence of bias, and alignment with regulatory requirements.

Navigating Special Category Data

Data protection is giving special category data extra attention, due to it being considered more sensitive. When using data to understand people and make decisions, we must be extra careful and follow the relevant rules closely. Under GDPR, the processing of special category data in automated decision-making is contingent upon explicit consent or the presence of substantial public interest.

Transparency, Accountability, and Safeguarding Rights

Transparency stands as an unwavering pillar within the GDPR, and it naturally affects automated decisions. Organizations are entrusted with embedding transparency within these processes to engender trust and uphold data subject rights. Robust technical and organizational measures are indispensable tools for safeguarding rights and freedoms. These measures encompass the right to human intervention, allowing data subjects to express opinions, contest decisions, and obtain transparent explanations about the decision.

Embracing the Future of Data Subject Rights

As we draw the curtain on our journey through the intricate tapestry of data subject rights in automated processing and profiling, a resounding message emerges. The fusion of technology and data subject rights sets the stage for the future of data protection. In this dynamic digital era, organizations are called upon to tread thoughtfully, embracing transparency and fairness while upholding the principles enshrined in the GDPR.


For inquiries, collaborations, or embarking on a transformative journey toward enhanced data protection, we invite you to contact us at or visit our website. Stay tuned for forthcoming articles, where we continue to unravel the multifaceted world of data protection, compliance, and the ever-evolving digital landscape.

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