For individually-identifiable data (or human biological material) that has been rendered non-identifiable through anonymisation techniques (i.e. removal of identifying details from the information or material so that subjects’ identity cannot be readily discovered or ascertained), nobody should attempt to re-identify such anonymised information (or biological material), or to disclose any individually-identifiable information, except with the consent from the research subjects (or legally authorised representative).
However, in accordance with HBRA, the following exceptions apply:
- when it is necessary to do so in connection with the administration or execution of anything under the HBRA Act;
- when ordered to do so by a court;
- where the information on the identity is publicly available;
- for the purpose of providing the identity to any person or class of persons to whom, in the opinion of the Director, it is in the public interest that the information be disclosed;
- where it is permitted or provided for under this HBRA Act or any other written law or rule of law; or
- in such other circumstances and to such persons as may be prescribed.
Please note that there are penalties for any person who contravenes this requirement.
Example: If you have been provided with a collection of anonymized human tissues, no attempt should be made to re-identify the donors/subjects without the consent from the donor/subject.