Dr. Subhajit Basu submits written evidence to Parliamentary Committees to answer questions relating to COVID-19 policy

Dr. Subhajit Basu submitted written evidence to both the Science and Technology Committee and the Joint Committee on Human Rights.

University of Leeds School of Law Associate Professor in Information Technology Law Dr Subhajit Basu and Dr Audrey Guinchard, of the School of Law, University of Essex, have submitted written evidence to the Science and Technology Committee, presenting a legal perspective on technological issues and highlights where the technology needs to evolve to comply with the legal provision bringing to the Committee new perspectives on the current debate about the Covid-19 app and beyond this pandemic.

Their written evidence to the Science and Technology Committee can be found in full here.

Dr. Basu and Dr. Guinchard also submitted written evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights which focused on answering the question: ‘What steps need to be taken to ensure that measures taken by the Government to address the COVID-19 pandemic are human rights compliant?’

Summary of proposed steps:

  1. The Government needs to publish its reasoning as to how the high risks to human rights have been assessed and whether or not they could be mitigated (potential issue 1.1). This reasoning is a prior condition to assess the need for prior consultation of the ICO (issue 1.2). It is also the basis for arguing that the publication of the DPIAs is needed to foster transparency as the GDPR mandates, and trust of the general public as Government aspires (issue 1.3).
  2. The Government needs to look beyond the seven data protection principles referred to by the Committee in its report HC 343/HL19, namely: Articles 28, 35 and 36 GDPR. The Government needs to ensure that the collaboration between NHS X and its private partners has adequate structures and processes to ensure that the processing is compliant and does not violate the GDPR and human rights (see potential issue 2). In the longer term, the Government would benefit from revisiting the collaboration procedures in place to ensure that the decisions taken along the way do not focus solely on the functionality of the digital product. The decisions also need to anticipate compliance with data protection laws beyond the seven data protection principles.
  3. Beyond the pandemic, the Government should look at how the ICO could be restructured and how a framework could be developed for more formal dialogue between public authorities and the ICO concerning the development and use of digital technologies (issue 3).
  4. Finally, the Government should consider how it could weave more efficiently the digital technologies into its management of public health beyond Covid-19 app. It may want to consider a public consultation leading to a White paper (issue 4).

Their written evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights can be found in full here.