Writer  Wen Hsieh  15.07.2020

There were few sensational headlines on the Internet

“Alexander McQueen’s DNA to be used for controversial design project”, “Alexander McQueen’s DNA turned into human leather goods by Tina Gorjanc”, “Alexander McQueen’s DNA Cloned For New Fashion Line — Reportedly Without His Brand’s Blessing”

https://fashionunited.uk/
The image by https://fashionunited.uk/ 2016

In 2016, Central Saint Martins fashion student Tina Gorjanc has announced ” she is to create a small range of accessories using ‘human leather,’ currently being produced in a laboratory using the DNA from Alexander McQueen.”  In an interview with Dezeen, an architecture and design magazine, “The Pure Human project was designed as a critical design project that aims to address shortcomings concerning the protection of biological information and move the debate forward using current legal structures,” Gorjanc said. “If a student like me was able to patent a material extracted from Alexander McQueen’s biological information as there was no legislation to stop me, we can only imagine what big corporations with bigger funding are going to be capable of doing in the future.”

Such impressive project sharked the world, forcing people to raise awareness for biological data protection through her professional. Thus, I would like to know what happen on the legal structures after her project.

In an interview with lawyer H about awareness for digital data protection.

Q: Does any specific law could support protection of biological information in the UK?

lawyer H : This should be the jurisdiction of the general data protection regulation.(GDPR). In short, in the European Union (including the United Kingdom), everyone’s personal data is protected, and any commercial collection, processing and use of personal data must comply with the regulations. I think gene sequencing is more personal information now, because people with bad intention can get a lot of information about this person through gene sequencing.There are a lot of detailed regulations under GDPR. It depends on how you want to use this genetic information. There are rules to abide by, but the big principle is that the data subject (personal data source) is protected a lot. If you want to collect, process, store and use personal data, you should go through legal channels.Generally, enterprises legalize it by signing contracts.

Q: “Basically, a person obtains this capacity with his birth, and loses it upon his death. Data must therefore be assignable to identified or identifiable living persons to be considered personal.” Could you please simple explain the meaning of this section?

lawyer H : GDPR only protects the rights of the alive people. However, people have the right to sign a confidentiality agreement ( data consent ) or ask their relatives and friends to handle the information on their behalf when they are alive, and their relatives will have right to protect these personal data and interests.

Q: Does anyone could use the others’ data, If people no sign any data consent form before they pass away?

lawyer H : To be on the safe side, it is suggested to confirm that relatives and friends have no complaints as far as possible, otherwise it will be very troublesome if there is a dispute later

Q: Should we all sign this kind of data transfer consent form in advance?

lawyer H :The data is like a legacy, will pass over to the successor.

Q: Do we need specially mark data consent?

lawyer H :No, maybe some people will talk about it in the suicide note under special circumstances, but generally people would not.

Q: What would happen legally if we could use the data of the deceased to create a personalized robot as a life partner?

lawyer H :At present, in the legal field, digital data protection is also a hot topic. We can only say that the rights and responsibilities are still valid after his death, which created before his life. For example, if someone signed an agreement or asked his relatives not to disclose any data to others before he died. These all work. But apart from these relatives, no one else can help protect the data of the deceased. At present, people who have passed away have no legal protection.

 

My reflection after spoke with lawyer H, Is there a law that could protect our digital data for good? If the law not be established yet at present, maybe we should sign our data transfer and consent now. Further thought is how can I do for raising awareness of digital data protection.

 

 

The extra information :

– “The European Data Protection Regulation is applicable as of May 25th, 2018 in all member states to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe.”

Available : https://gdpr-info.eu/

 

 

Bibliography

– Intersoft Consulting. GDPR Personal Data.

“Basically, a person obtains this capacity with his birth, and loses it upon his death. Data must therefore be assignable to identified or identifiable living persons to be considered personal.”

Available : https://gdpr-info.eu/issues/personal-data/

-Dezeen, 2016, Alexander McQueen’s DNA turned into human leather goods by Tina Gorjanc.

Available :https://www.dezeen.com/2016/07/11/pure-human-tina-gorjanc-leather-fashion-design-central-saint-martins/

-Fashionunited, 2016, Alexander McQueen’s DNA to be used for controversial design project.

Available : https://fashionunited.com/education/news/alexander-mcqueen-s-dna-to-be-used-for-controversial-design-project2/2016071412065

– Refinery 29, 2016, Alexander McQueen’s DNA Cloned For New Fashion Line — Reportedly Without His Brand’s Blessing.

Available : https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2016/07/116616/alexander-mcqueen-dna-fashion-line

 

 

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