Dr Subhajit Basu discusses legal issues around data protection in light of COVID-19 data tracking in CNN Business article
In an attempt to fight the spread of the coronavirus countries are looking to launch tracking apps. Dr Subhajit Basu discusses the legal issues around GDPR associated with this potential response.
Dr Basu’s argument is based on the principle that individual level location tracking of people, even if it is for public health, goes against the principle of privacy.
He concedes that we are facing a challenge like never before. Still, it is necessary that during crisis a government responds proportionately. Directly using mobile location data for surveillance could be justified by a totalitarian regime but it is an entirely different thing for a democratic country.
Dr Basu tells CNN Business that protection of privacy is critical for “trust”. He explains “we know that governments around the world are demanding extraordinary new surveillance powers to fight the virus. Still, there is no oversight mechanism to ensure that the individual’s rights are protected”.
Dr Basu says “In my view, indiscriminate use of intrusive technology without adequate oversight mechanism will have a detrimental effect in the long-term. A democratic government needs the co-operation of its citizens. The companies need to think about the privacy of the individual when they are developing the App”.