Freedom of Information requests will help us collecting information about these applications and let us compare the different approaches across Europe. Liberties and its members aim to avoid authorities or private companies processing more personal data than what is necessary to protect us from the corona virus. We also push for minimizing the risk of data leakage and other privacy breaches.
Our biggest concern is that while the aim of saving lives and livelihoods is without doubt salutary, the path of mass surveillance is quite possibly unnecessary and surely dangerous to take. Human rights organisations need to make sure that European governments take their responsibility to prepare impact assessments seriously, and no European government uses the pandemic as a pretext for normalizing the expanded use of invasive digital surveillance technologies.
Liberties’ aim is to reverse the increased level of surveillance. We believe that contact-tracing, symptom-tracking and quarantine-enforcing applications should only be used if evidence shows that they are effective, for the set purposes, on voluntary basis. The principles set in the data protection laws, such as the EU-level GDPR, should be followed.
This initiative is calling the attention of governments and the general public to the fact that human rights are important safeguards during emergency situations, such as this pandemic. They ensure public trust - a precondition for any successful social coordination - and, ultimately, protect public health.
The countries joining the initiative include Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden. Belgium, Germany and Ireland will also be covered in the project, but in these three countries, Liberties’ members took a different path, and they will not submit Freedom of Information requests as a first step.
In case you are interested to join this project, please let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org