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Do Egyptian Mummies Have Privacy Rights?


September 14, 2010

The assumption that ancient corpses are fair game for science is beginning to be challenged, NewScientist reports. The strict ethical guidelines that apply to human research don't extend to Egyptian mummies, which disturbs anatomist Frank Rühil and ethicist Ina Kaufmann of the University of Zurich, who say such research produces personal information including family history and medical conditions and doesn't allow for patient consent, the report states. The rights of the deceased individual must be considered and weighed against the knowledge attained by the research, Rühil says. Some regions classify such information as personal. In New Zealand, information about how someone died is considered personal data, and in the European Union, information about the deceased is considered personal if it can reveal something about living descendants.
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