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Hungarian DPA releases guidance on body temperature measurement

On 14 October 2020 the Hungarian Data Protection Authority (NAIH) has released its guidance on body temperature measurement in relation to COVID-19.

In March 2020, NAIH stated that it is not possible to apply general body temperature screening. Due the current COVID-19 situation they recently revised their approach and concluded that this is now possible.

NAIH came to the conclusion that the use of diagnostic screening devices related to the measurement of body temperature in the current pandemic situation qualifies as being in compliance with the data protection principles, provided that all the following conditions are met:

  • it is used in the course of allowing entry to the area or buildings owned or used by the controller;
  • it is used as a protective measure uniformly with every person desiring to enter (“shell protection”);
  • it is not linked to the identification of the subject of the body temperature check expressly to achieve this processing purpose; and
  • it does not involve the recording, storage or transmission of data in any way.

NAIH also stated that it cannot be unambiguously concluded merely from the fact that a person’s body temperature is higher that he/she is infected with the coronavirus, hence the controller may not draw any conclusions concerning the health status of any given person based on the measurement of body temperature upon entry. The controller is only entitled to permit or refuse entry based on objective criteria specified in advance. If controller refuses entry, the further handling of the situation falls in the competence of the data subject (e.g. consulting a doctor, sick leave and sick pay, informing the workplace superior, etc.).

It is also to be noted that exceptional cases may occur when a person’s body temperature is higher than the average, e.g. because of some kind of disease or medical therapy. In such case, it is possible for the controller to accept a certificate issued by a doctor stating that the person is entitled to join the community in spite of a higher body temperature.