EDPS, ICO provide COVID-19 input

(Mar 27, 2020) As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, here are the latest stories on how the outbreak has affected privacy: 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 ... Read More

Trudeau: Canada will not use location data to track COVID-19 for now

(Mar 27, 2020) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada has not considered using location data to track COVID-19; however, he did not rule out the option, CBC News reports. "I think we recognize that in an emergency situation we need to take certain steps that wouldn't be taken in non-emergency situations, but as far as I know that is not a situation we're looking at right now," Trudeau said. "But as I've said, all options are on the table to do what is necessary to keep Canadians safe in these exceptional ti... Read More

COVID-19 updates from EU, Ireland, Netherlands and US

(Mar 26, 2020) As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, here are the latest stories on how the outbreak has affected privacy: The World Health Organization is advising those offering technological aid to combat COVID-19 to be mindful of privacy and human rights, Reuters reports. Euractiv reports the European Commission hopes to use COVID-19 to demonstrate the EU's open data policy and data use for the "common good." The U.S Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights issued guidance on how... Read More

The latest on COVID-19 privacy issues

(Mar 25, 2020) As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, here are the latest stories on how the outbreak has affected privacy: In this piece for Lawfare, Alston & Bird Senior Counsel Peter Swire looks at how lessons around privacy and security following the Sept. 11 attacks may inform the response to COVID-19. U.S. senators asked the Trump administration to take measures to protect student data as courses move online, The Washington Post reports. The Washington Post also reports on how smartphone data could... Read More

Updates on COVID-19 tracking, patient privacy concerns

(Mar 24, 2020) As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, here are the latest stories on how the outbreak has affected privacy: A coalition of civil society groups joined on a letter to U.S. Congress asking that any form of government-passed COVID-19 relief package maintain patient privacy protections, HealthITSecurity reports. A survey shows 57% of Americans are uncomfortable with the idea of location data tracking for COVID-19, Morning Consult reports. Politico reports European Commissioner for Internal Market... Read More

Concerns mount over data use during COVID-19

(Mar 23, 2020) As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, here are the latest stories on how the outbreak has affected privacy: The New York Times reports on how efforts to track those who have COVID-19 may lead to expanded surveillance efforts down the line. A collection of Democratic senators has raised concerns with the Trump administration's conversations with tech companies over the use of location data, Multichannel News reports. TechCrunch reports on the different rules about the use of health data around... Read More

Privacy advocates emphasize safeguards in potential COVID-19 tracking

(Mar 20, 2020) The Washington Post reports some privacy advocates are in favor of the U.S. using cellphone or location data to track the COVID-19 pandemic so long as it is done appropriately. Advocates are seeking assurance on basic safeguards and the potential for user opt-ins to allow government access. "There’s no reason to have to throw out our principles like privacy and consent to do this," Electronic Frontier Foundation Distinguished Technology Fellow Peter Eckersley said. Meanwhile, the U.K. is develop... Read More

Privacy concerns stirred over potential COVID-19 tracking

(Mar 19, 2020) Wired reports on the potential privacy dilemma facing Americans if the U.S. government and big tech companies team up on COVID-19 tracking through forms of user location data. University of Georgia Center for Geospatial Research Director Marguerite Madden said citizens will likely balk at the potential data sharing unless they are "made fully aware of the use of the data and trusted the data would be used as specified in the data agreement." Meanwhile, Facebook and Google have each downplayed th... Read More

US government exploring location data tracking for COVID-19

(Mar 18, 2020) The Washington Post reports U.S. government officials are consulting with big tech companies and public health professionals on the possibility of using location data from cellphones to track individuals infected by COVID-19. The health professionals have pitched the idea of companies, like Facebook and Google, compiling anonymized data that would be used for a map to track the spread of the disease. However, Google has already stated it has privacy concerns over the use of location data. Senate... Read More

German, Austrian telecoms disclose location data for COVID-19 tracking

(Mar 18, 2020) Telecommunications companies in Germany and Austria have granted their governments access to customers' cellphone data in an effort to help track the COVID-19 outbreak, Der Tagesspiegel reports. German-based Telekom and Austrian-based A1 each offered the initial government access to the anonymized data within the last few days. "This allows movement flows to be modeled — broken down nationwide, at the state level and down to the district-community level," a Telekom spokeswoman said. (Original ar... Read More