CNPEN


Opinion nr 6 Ethical issues of retroactive name change in digital scientific documents


There are many reasons why a person may one day wish to change their name or surname. In France, legal procedures allow people to request changes in their identity documents, and may use their new name, but only for the future. The temporal precision is crucial, since it means that requests to modify personal data appearing on documents prior to the name change are not accepted, whatever the reason given by the applicant. While the absence of retroactive effect is currently a legal limitation that applies to everyone, some ethical questions are raised with an acuity that societal evolution tends to reinforce. Far from being abstract, this reflection is stimulated by the growing number of requests that organisations, both public and private, are facing, in particular within the scientific community.

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