EU law and emotion data

by   Andreas Hauselmann, et al.

This article sheds light on legal implications and challenges surrounding emotion data processing within the EU's legal framework. Despite the sensitive nature of emotion data, the GDPR does not categorize it as special data, resulting in a lack of comprehensive protection. The article also discusses the nuances of different approaches to affective computing and their relevance to the processing of special data under the GDPR. Moreover, it points to potential tensions with data protection principles, such as fairness and accuracy. Our article also highlights some of the consequences, including harm, that processing of emotion data may have for individuals concerned. Additionally, we discuss how the AI Act proposal intends to regulate affective computing. Finally, the article outlines the new obligations and transparency requirements introduced by the DSA for online platforms utilizing emotion data. Our article aims at raising awareness among the affective computing community about the applicable legal requirements when developing AC systems intended for the EU market, or when working with study participants located in the EU. We also stress the importance of protecting the fundamental rights of individuals even when the law struggles to keep up with technological developments that capture sensitive emotion data.


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