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Europe Data Protection Digest | COVID-19 privacy updates from Europe Related reading: A guide to operationalizing privacy by design


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

  • In Europe, 130 researchers from eight countries are developing applications to support contact tracing efforts in the fight against COVID-19, while complying with privacy laws, Reuters reports.
  • Reuters reports German Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht said tracking apps used to fight COVID-19 can only be used voluntarily.
  • U.K. Information Commissioner's Office Deputy Commissioner Steve Wood released a statement regarding the ICO's stance on cellphone data tracking for COVID-19.
  • The U.K. government outlined its use of data during the pandemic, including how it maintains confidentiality under the EU General Data Protection Regulation.
  • Reuters reports Germany is set to launch a COVID-19 tracking app using anonymous Bluetooth monitoring rather than user location data.
  • On the EUobserver's podcast, "EU Scream," European Commission Vice President for Values and Transparency Věra Jourová discussed surveillance and data privacy in relation to COVID-19.
  • Germany proposed using big data and location tracking to monitor and isolate people with the virus once the spread of COVID-19 has slowed down, Reuters reports.
  • European Data Protection Supervisor Wojciech Wiewiórowski wrote a letter to the European Commission regarding his take on data protection considerations for potential COVID-19-monitoring practices.
  • The Guardian reports the U.K. Information Commissioner's Office approved the use of cellphone data for COVID-19 tracking.
  • ICO Director for Regulatory Assurance Ian Hulme wrote a blog post on what community groups should be mindful of with data protection during the pandemic.
  • Germany's Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, the BfDI, published guidance on employee data processing amid COVID-19.
  • The Polish government is mandating anyone potentially infected with COVID-19 use a smartphone app that collects their location and digital image, Politico reports. 

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


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