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Europe Data Protection Digest | COVID-19 privacy updates from Europe Related reading: Google to block third-party cookies in 2024



As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, here are the latest stories on how the outbreak has affected privacy in Europe:

  • Euractiv reports European Commission Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager said the EU doesn't "have to choose between fighting the virus and protecting privacy" when it comes to COVID-19 tracking apps, while Reuters reports there's a growing divide among EU member states on the design of the apps, specifically regarding the potential for broad government surveillance.
  • Also from Reuters, European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services Thierry Breton asked Apple CEO Tim Cook to find common ground with France on issues regarding privacy for COVID-19 tracking.
  • The Guardian reports Apple and Google are at odds with the U.K. National Health Service over a potential contact tracing app due to tech companies' interest in preserving privacy, while Reuters reports Austria and Switzerland have shown support for the app. 
  • Advocacy group NOYB published a review of Austria's first widely adopted contact tracing app.
  • Contact tracing and location tracking being used in countries like Ireland to fight the COVID-19 pandemic raise privacy questions as the U.S. considers its response, Kaiser Health News reports.
  • CNET reports on the privacy test contact tracing apps pose to the EU and how Germany will take charge in facing the challenges.
  • Italy's Minister for Technological Innovation and Digitization released an update on the development of a COVID-19 contact tracing app. (Original post is in Italian.)
  • The Danish data protection authority, Datatilsynet, addressed privacy considerations for Denmark's pending COVID-19 tracking app. (Original post is in Danish.)
  • Dutch health care providers are set to gain access to the medical records of millions of COVID-19 patients without their consent, NL Times reports.
  • The Dutch data protection authority, Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens, announced the Netherlands' seven options for COVID-19 tracking apps each lack clear data protection frameworks. (Original post is in Dutch.)
  • Reuters reports Dutch college students have privacy concerns over online exam monitoring taking place during the pandemic.

Editor's note: The IAPP Resource Center has compiled global privacy updates on its COVID-19 Guidance and Resources page. 


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