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Brussels airports fined over temperature checks

by host

The Belgian privacy authority has fined the Brussels airports in Zaventem and Charleroi for carrying out temperature checks on passengers.

The airports began screening passengers’ temperatures in 2020 in a bid to root out individuals with coronavirus.

In a statement on Monday, the country’s privacy authority said that the screening had violated privacy rules, fining the airports at Zaventem and Charleroi €200,000 and €100,000 respectively.

The privacy authority said that despite the public health emergency, the airports had failed to identify a legal basis to process people’s temperatures, which is considered sensitive information under EU law. The authority had previously warned that the practice may not be legal.

A spokesperson for Brussels Zaventem airport said they were “very disappointed” with the authority’s decision and disputed the claims that it had no legal basis to handle the data.

“Brussels Airport was extremely careful with this temperature check: it was clearly communicated to the passengers, the information was only briefly shown on the screen for a few seconds and was immediately removed, these images were only viewed by authorised personnel and the data were not linked to other data.

“Brussels Airport also carried out a thorough data protection impact assessment. As soon as the measures were in place, the temperature screening was phased out and finally abolished in January 2021,” the spokesperson added.

Brussels Charleroi airport could not be reached for comment.

UPDATED: This article has been updated to include comment from Brussels Airport.

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